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Fire Department Open House
PHOTO GALLERY: Apr 04, 2012 Constitution Tribune
PHOTOS BY Catherine Stortz-Ripley

Chillicothe's newly-remodeled and expanded fire station was open for public viewing Saturday. Tours were given throughout the facility for around 150 people, and hot dogs and chips were served as part of the day's event. The expansion/remodeling project was completed in November at a cost of just over $2.3 million.

Open House Announced
March 23, 2012

The Chillicothe Fire Department will be holding an open house touring of their new facilities to the public on Saturday, March 31, 2012. The event will go from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and will be used to show off the newly constructed, added-on, and remodeled areas of the Chillicothe Fire Department headquarters. Completion of the remodeling was finished at the end of 2011. New additions include better security getting in and around the building, as well as a specific area designated for firefighter gear, a new bay that holds the ambulances, better technology, and much more. 

C-T Photo / Amanda McKay

Free hot dogs, chips, and soda pop will be available on the east side of the building, along with facility tours. Tours will be offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

CFD Celebrates Completion
Project finished under original budget of $2.3M
By Drew Van Dyke, C-T Writer, 12 01 11

Persons from across Chillicothe and the surrounding area gathered Wednesday afternoon to witness the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the Chillicothe Fire Department Remodel and Addition project, which began in early 2010. "We're glad you're here," said fire chief Darrell Wright, who gave the welcoming address and overview of the project during the ceremony. "It's really just our turn in the process," he said, before revealing that this is only the fourth time since 1837 that the city of Chillicothe has revealed a new fire station to the public.

Prior to the ceremony presentation, members of the Chillicothe Fire Department lined up along the eastern face of the building and held a line of caution tape as substitute for a ribbon. Karysn Robertson, the granddaughter of Chief Wright, was assisted in cutting the ribbon by third ward councilman Tom Douglas, who gave the countdown. Robertson also led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Firefighter Nathan Zabak gave the invocation.

Click photo to see a closer view.

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Councilman Douglas was up next with the opening remarks, in which he included special thanks to several persons who were instrumental in getting the project on its feet, and who kept it going strong over the past year and a half, regardless of setbacks. Douglas recognized two representatives from WSKF - the architectural firm who also worked on the building's interior design. The firm stated that they hoped that they were to adequately accomplish all of the department's goals in taking on the project. "The fire personnel and fire chief, in general, are planners," they said.

Bob Richards, of Rothwell Construction, spoke on behalf of the company that put the new additions together. "The Chief has put up with us for a year, while we tore down his building, and then put it back together," Richards joked. "These people have put up with all of this construction," Douglas echoed. "We should be very proud of our firefighters."

Wright took to the podium next to give an overview of the project as a whole. He said that it all began during a lunch with Mayor Chuch Haney, who was also in attendance for the ceremony Wednesday. Wright said that a complaint about the state of the facilities, in regards to building size and equipment left out in the elements led him to say: "Chuck, we should build a new fire station." Of course, he said, Haney understandably laughed off the idea, at first. After looking into it further, however, Wright said that he was informed that they city thought that, perhaps, they really should look into the possibility of upgrading the facility. Persons were brought in to evaluate whether or not the idea of, instead, splitting the station up into multiple substations across the area, instead. "They had a pretty firm belief that we were a one-station city," Wright said. "Next, we decided what we could financially afford to spend," he continued.

In May of 2010, the city approved the department's ability to seek design bids. WSKF was chosen as the design firm. Rothwell Construction was chosen to handle the remodeling. Ground was broken on the project in December 2010.

The project was one of the last items on a list of projects to be completed with the use of a quarter-cent sales tax passed by voters in the April 2003 elections for the fire department. At the time, the measure was widely supported, receiving a 64 percent voter approval. The budget for the project was set at $2.3 million. Wright reported, and later, Mayor Haney reiterated, that the project had come in under that budget, and was completed in under the allotted contract time that they had set with Rothwell Construction, even with the record-setting blizzard which took place earlier this year.

Wright commended his crew on their ability to provide multiple services throughout the surrounding area, despite setbacks with construction. "That's something we've been very proud of - having that combined service," he said. "But I don't know if we'll ever really be finished."

"This is an exciting day in the city of Chillicothe," said Mayor Haney, who took the floor next. "This is a great day. It was a team project. That's what made this project click. It did happen."

Haney presented a proclamation to the fire station, as well as to the family of deceased former fire chief Joe Rinehart, dedicating the new "ultra-modern" weight room in his honor. The proclamation stated that the weight room, which now currently sits in the place where Rinehart's old office used to sit, be named the Joe Rinehart Exercise Weight Room. "My - Joe - would he be proud," Haney said. Haney also presented the station and the city of Chillicothe (represented by city administrator Ike Holland) with a copy of the original Constitution-Tribune article announcing the new fire station project groundbreaking.

Click photo to see a closer view.

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke
Fire Chief Darrell Wright presents the late Joe Rinehart's wife and family with a framed proclamation.
The fire station's new weight room was named in honor of Rinehart, whose office was located in that area.

Fire Union President Robert Williams gave remarks on the union's behalf. "It turned out to be quite the ride," Williams said. "As we walk through today, we'll see a lot of things." Williams let the crowd know that the firefighters are providing their own furniture and cable service expenses, along with televisions and electronic devices. "We're contributing to this, as well," he said.

"In your life, you have special events," said Holland, who spoke briefly, following Williams. He commended the persons who worked on the project, the firefighters, and the citizen of the city, all in due course. "It's the people who make the difference," Holland said. "And we know that; but sometimes, it gets lost."

Chief Wright gave closing remarks, and the members of the Chillicothe Fire Department led small groups of citizens throughout the new building, on guided tours of the facilities. Each person present at the ceremony was presented with a complimentary CFD flashlight by Wright, himself, as a personal thank you for their attendance.

Click photo to see a closer view.

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke
Bill Gutshall, Chillicothe firefighter, gave tours of the newly renovated fire department during the ceremony.
Pictured above, Gutshall takes (from left) Crystal Narr, daughter Macey Gutshall, Alan Brock, and commissioner
Todd Rodenberg) through the gear room.

The remodeling project included heater replacement, installation of exhaust systems and roof insulation on the old and new building, multiple renovations to the existing building, and the construction of a two-story addition, which included a new bay area and expanded resting quarters and office space for firefighters and the department's administrative staff.

Moving Inside
10 07 11 CT

C-T Photo / Amanda McKay

With all of the exterior construction done on the Chillicothe fire station, crews from Rothwell Construction of Blue Springs are now able to focus most of their attention on the interior. Pictured above, what used to be the fire station's kitchen and living quarters is being transformed into bedrooms for the firefighters. The area will contain cubicles that will be large enough to house two beds, allowing each firefighter more privacy. Bathrooms with a shower will be located adjacent to the area.

Installing Doors
C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke, August 30, 2011

Workers with CNS Overhead Doors of Chillicothe set to task Tuesday morning, putting up overhead doors in the new Chillicothe Fire Department garage bay along the southern side of the building. The new doors face First Street. Construction is still under way on the fire station remodel and addition. Carpeting and offices have been laid out in certain areas of the south-eastern part of the building’s new addition.

Fire Station Work Continues
July 28, 2011

Work continues at the Chillicothe Fire Department, where crews are working on several projects throughout the facility.

To the south of the older bay area, concrete is being poured for a new cement pad. New concrete was also poured for the new bay area to the south, which will need nearly 30 days to fully cure. Once that is done, according to assistant chief Joe Darr, about half of the emergency services vehicles can be moved so that work can be done on the existing north bay. Work is also being done on the interior, where a sprinkler system is being installed throughout, as well as drywall and work on the office areas and day rooms.

Roofing Work Continues
C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley June 22, 2011

Roofing work on the new addition to the Chillicothe Fire Station was nearing completion today (Wednesday), and Fire Chief Darrell Wright said that Phase I of the expansion project has been completed and was in the process of being inspected. Inside the bay area (to the left in the photo above), a sprinkler system was being installed. The hanging of sheetrock inside the new addition is expected to begin next week. Wright said the entire project is running ahead of schedule and is expected to be completed by October.

Fire Station Work Continues
June 3, 2011

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Work on the expansion of the Chillicothe Fire Department building continued this week. On Wednesday, crews from Rothwell Construction in Blue Springs, Missouri, poured the floor for a sector of the building's second story. Next up, the workers are looking to place the steel girders for the building's roof rafters and to work on bricking the western end. Raftering for the top of the building is upcoming in certain areas around the southern and western areas, and current remodeling within the existing site - including, but not limited to, plumbing and interior structural layout - is still taking shape at this current time. The main entrance for the building is being moved down to the southeastern facade of the expansion edition from the older entrance at the northeast. Housing on the southern side of the building for trucks and equipment is taking shape, but is still in its earlier stages, and is in need of roofing, among other things. Rothwell estimates that the expansion project will be completed by October 2011.

Work Continues
April 25, 2011
Roof Work Continues on CFD Building
April 26, 2011

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke
The Chillicothe Fire Department expansion project was in full swing Monday morning, regardless of the less-than-favorable rainy conditions. Crews continued work on the CFD building's roof, as well as within the building, tending to their waterlines and plumbing.

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke
Crews worked on laying roofing panels atop the Chillicothe Fire Department building, which is currently being expanded to fit the department's equipment more easily. The roofing process is just one step in the renovation project, and its completion will signify a big piece of the job out of the way. Although recent weather has been a bit less-than-grand, the work of these gentlemen has still continued as they try to make deadlines and complete the project in a timely fashion. 

Up on the Rooftop
April 8, 2011
C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Over at the Chillicothe Fire Station, Phase 1 of the expansion project is nearing completion. Workers from Rothwell Construction, out of Blue Springs, started on putting a new roof on the old bay area of the building Friday morning. The roof repair and replacement is the final step of Phase 1 of the project, which is expected to be completed by next Friday, April 15, with weather permitting.

Fire Station Ground Work
April 1, 2011
C-T Photo / Amanda McKay

Rothwell Construction of Blue Springs worked Thursday laying the ground work for the Chillicothe Fire Station's $2.17M expansion project. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in December for the project, which is one of the last items on the list of projects that were to be completed with the use of a quarter-cent sales tax passed by voters in April 2003.

Site Work Begins
CT February 18, 2011

C-T Photo / 02 18 11 Amanda McKay

Dirt work has started on the $2.17 million Chillicothe Fire Station renovation and expansion project. Rothwell Construction of Blue Springs is the contractor for the project and began clearing a path, which had been deterred due to inclement weather and nearly 13 inches of snow. The project is funded through a quarter-cent sales tax which voters passed in April 2003.

Construction Crew Brings in trailer for Chilli Fire Dept. Project
CT January 5, 2011

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Rothwell Construction of Blue Springs, Mo., recently moved its trailer into the alleyway west of the Chillicothe Fire Department building, in preparation for the upcoming expansion and remodeling project.

The expansion will take into consideration the need for more living quarters for the growing fire department staff, as well as a more accessible space for the storage of fire trucks and ambulances, which have also increased in size since the original building was constructed.

Ground Broken for Chillicothe Fire Station Expansion
December 7, 2010, Catherine Stortz-Ripley

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

City officials, fire and ambulance personnel as well as other dignitaries gathered south of the Chillicothe Fire Department on a chilly, but sunny Monday afternoon to officially break ground on a $2.17 million renovation and expansion project for the fire station. The project, expected to begin later this month, is one of the last items on of list of projects that were to be completed with the use of a quarter-cent sales tax which voters passed in April 2003 for the fire department.

Just prior to turning the shovels of dirt, the Chillicothe City Council gathered in the fire station bays to conduct a special meeting where they approved the low bids on the project. After accepting the bids, the council adjourned their meeting and began the ground-breaking ceremony.

The ceremony opened with firefighter Rob Williams leading those gathered in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Bill Gutshall provided the invocation. Mayor Chuck Haney welcomed the guests. "This is a big project for the city, and we need to remember that the people helped make this happen," the mayor stated.

The fire department sales tax ballot issue was widely supported seven years ago with 64 percent voter approval. "All the firemen worked hard to get it passed," said 3rd Ward Councilman Tom Douglas, acknowledging that the city has finally reached the bottom of the main to-do list. "It makes me proud to be a part of it." Douglas has been a long-time advocate for better facilities for the fire department and what project architect Rick Kuhl said was "a cheerleader and a supporter from Day 1."

Fire Chief Darrell Wright also addressed the council, fellow firefighters, and guests and said that tough decisions lie ahead. He said that the firefighters and ambulance personnel will be inconvenienced in the coming months during the construction but he assured those gathered that the department's service will be uninterrupted.

The ambulance district, which houses its equipment and personnel at the fire station, is providing $250,000 for the expansion/renovation project in support of the project. A major component of the project is to increase bay areas so that all vehicles and equipment can be stored indoors. Ambulance board chairman Bill Hayen said that his board appreciates the service and recognizes the importance of keeping the vehicles and equipment inside to promote longevity.

Kuhl provided an overview of the renovation/expansion project and said, on behalf of the design team, that he was glad to have been a part of the process. City Engineer Ron Urton, who has also been involved in the process, acknowledged the progressiveness of the city and people of the community who have supported the project. Rothwell Construction, of Blue Springs, submitted the lowest bids for the project and is expected to begin work within the next couple of weeks. Company owner said that he was pleased that his firm was chosen for the project. He noted that the people who will be utilizing the facility have touched - either directly or indirectly - most everyone in the community. Rob Williams, president of the local firefighters union, thanked the council, city leaders, and Chief Wright for bringing the project to fruition. Also addressing those gathered was City Administrator Dean Brookshier, who noted the unique partnership the city of Chillicothe has with the Livingston County Ambulance District. He said he was pleased that the building will soon be enhanced to better equip the personnel. Assistant Fire Chief Eric Reeter gave the closing prayer.

Four firms submitted proposals for the first phase of the project, which includes replacing heaters and installing an exhaust system and roof insulation in the existing bay area. Bids ranged in price from $71,116 to $109,600 for the first phase. Six firms submitted proposals for the second phase of the project, which involves renovating the remaining areas of the building and constructing a two-story addition. Base bids ranged in price from $2,070,000 to $2,369,000. With project alternates that were included in the bid process, Rothwell Construction submitted the lowest bids with Phase 1 at $75,716; and phase 2 at $2,098,000. Rothwell's bids call for completing the projects within 330 days.

The fire station was built in 1982 as a public safety building to house both the fire and police departments. Although the police department relocated to another building several years ago, little renovation was done to the fire station. With this project, the city plans to add space to its existing facility to increase the building's office/living quarters as well as provide additional space for vehicles and apparatus. The station currently houses three fire engines, a ladder apparatus, a tanker, a rescue vehicle, four ambulances, a brush truck and three multi-purpose vehicles as well as a HAZMAT and command trailer.

The building was designed for a staff of 15 plus a chief. Currently, the department has 21 firefighters, a secretary and a chief. Since the time the building was constructed, the department has grown and the services and demand have increased, according to Fire Chief Wright. Wright said that ambulances and trucks have increased in size which makes sharing bays difficult and, sometimes, prohibitive. Currently, additional equipment including the hazmat trailer, command trailer, rural tanker and a larger rural pumper are housed outside. He also stated that the facility is inadequate for the existing staff. The bunk room is crowded with very little room between bunks and there is no privacy for females. With the renovations/expansion project, the space for the sleeping quarters will about double in size and facilities will be gender neutral. Among other renovations, the two-story addition will include a private sleeping area, male-female bathrooms, a day room area, and a meeting room with a separate entrance and some extra parking.

The city will finance a portion of the project through low interest Build America Bonds and will utilize a portion of fire department taxes already in reserves. That reserve fund balance currently is around $900,000.

Bids for the fire station project came in higher than anticipated for the project: $1.8 million. The ordinances approved Monday, which accepted Rothwell Construction as the successful bidder, state that all change orders up to a total of $5,000 shall be approved by the city engineer and all change orders in excess of $5,000 shall be approved by the mayor and city council.

Update 11/10/10

The city's next major construction project will be the addition to the Department of Emergency Services and the building where fire and ambulance equipment are currently lodged. Sealed bids will be received at the city clerk's office until 2 p.m. on December 1, 2010.The bids for Phase Two, expansion and renovation and etc. There will partial renovation and expansion of the existing fire/ambulance station at Second and Locust, including site development work.

Fire Department Planned Expansion (Photo by City 11/09/10)

The partial renovation of three existing office and living quarters and the expansion of the office, living quarters will contain 5,800 square feet. The proposed addition also contains approximately 4,000 GSF of office/living quarters and another 4,100 of GSF of new apparatus bays space. When complete, there will be nearly 14,000 square feet, and it is anticipated that all fire, ambulance, and Haz-Mat equipment as well as rural fire department equipment will be under cover.

A pre-bid conference is scheduled for the city hall council chambers at 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 18.

City Council Meeting 10/11/10
Excerpt from C-T -Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The council approved the final plans for the proposed fire station expansion. A representative with the architectural firm that is working on the project stated that the first phase of the project could begin this fall and would include work to the existing apparatus bays.

City Moves Ahead on Plan for Fire Expansion 
Constitution-Tribune, Amanda McKay
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The city of Chillicothe will soon seek requests for proposals for building an addition onto the existing fire station and move ahead with plans to build a firefighting training facility. Fire Chief Darrell Wright gave a presentation to city officials and members of the public during the regular Chillicothe City Council meeting Monday night at City Hall. Both projects, anticipated to cost around $2.4 million, are to be paid for through revenues of the quarter-cent sales tax which voters passed in April 2003 for the fire department as well as anticipated grant money. The station expansion is projected to cost around $1.4 million and the training facility around $1 million. These are rough estimates as bids will need to be sought and interest rates determined before a more firm cost is identified, Wright said. The projects would be paid for over 30 years.

Station Expansion
In his presentation, the chief said the current station houses three fire engines, a ladder apparatus, a tanker, a rescue vehicle, four ambulances, a brush truck and three multi-purpose vehicles as well as a HAZMAT and command trailer. He said that the current building built in 1982 was designed for a staff of 15 plus a chief. Currently, the department has 21 firefighters, a secretary and a chief. Since the time the building was constructed, the department has grown and the services and demand have increased. Wright said that ambulances and trucks have increased in size which makes sharing bays difficult and, sometimes, prohibitive. Currently, additional equipment including the hazmat trailer, command trailer, rural tanker and a larger rural pumper are housed outside. He also stated that the facility is inadequate for the existing staff. The bunk room is crowded with very little room between bunks and there is no privacy for females. He noted that there is one female employee and that the number of female employees will likely increase in the future. He said there is not enough living space and that the department currently utilizes part of a storage room for staff quarters. Wright is proposing that a two-story addition measuring 27 feet by 45 feet be built to provide space for living quarters upstairs and a meeting room on the main level. Additionally, the proposal will seek an extra bay area measuring around 48 feet by 60 feet to house additional equipment. The two-story addition would include a private sleeping area, male-female bath rooms, a day room area, and a meeting room with a separate entrance and some extra parking. The addition would be equipped with an elevator to comply with ADA requirements as well as a sprinkler system. In addition to making payments on the anticipated loan and paying for other projected budget items, the department anticipates setting aside $110,000 annually from the sales tax. Last year, the tax generated $371,608 in revenues. The tax is anticipated to bring in $373,067 during this budget year.

Firefighting Training Facility
The training complex is proposed to be built on an 8.8-acre tract of city-owned land along Green Street and south of the Donaldson Company in southwest Chillicothe. The complex would provide training facilities for the fire department as well as for law enforcement. Wright said that three other locations were considered but thought that the Green Street site was the best option. The other sites were: south of the Pepsi Building in the industrial park area; south of the existing fire station; and south of the old prison. The fire training facility would provide space for conducting live fire training, forcible entry and ventilation, an area to work with ropes, and more. A training tower would provide a facility for training police and fire department personnel.

A resident who lives nearby the proposed training site expressed concerns about the noise which would come from a shooting range which is planned to be built there. He also questioned why the city did not send out notification about the department's plans to build the training facility. He was told that since the zoning for area is currently zoned industrial the city did not need to send letters to adjacent property owners. The citizen also stated that a child care facility and a church are nearby. Police Chief Rick Knouse briefly explained plans for a shooting range at the site. He said berms would be built 24 to 30 feet high to help baffle noise and that the officers would be shooting to the west. He said a shooting range is needed by the department, which currently has its officers practice where there currently is no water, electricity or shelter.

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