Wednesday September 22, 2004
A comprehensive study of Louisville’s oldest firehouses has highlighted the need for numerous repairs, but does not find any pressing life or safety issues. The study, conducted this summer by an environmental consultant and architectural firm hired by Louisville Metro Government, created an inventory of repair and maintenance needs in the community’s 12 oldest firehouses, ranging from concerns over diesel exhaust to repair needs associated with mold, roofs and windows.
The consultants were charged with examining three primary areas: potential health and/or safety issues, environmental issues and architectural issues. Several of the firehouses examined were built in the early 1900s. One of the firehouses, Engine No. 7 at 821 South Sixth St., was built in 1871 and is the oldest continuously used firehouse in the United States.
Kim Allen, Secretary of Louisville Metro Government’s Public Protection Cabinet, said she will work with Louisville Fire Department officials to prioritize needs and begin making repairs in the coming months.
“This report provides an important inventory of the repairs needed in our community’s oldest firehouses,” Allen said. “Fortunately, the study indicates no emerging life or safety issues that need to be addressed. We are committed to making the most pressing repairs.”
Earlier this month, the Louisville Metro Council adopted Mayor Jerry Abramson’s “Foundation for our Future Fund” – a $25 million bond issue designed to make repairs and improvements to long-deferred infrastructure items throughout the community.
In the bond issue, $1 million was set aside to make firehouse repairs and to conduct a study of long-term deployment needs. Work on the firehouses and the study will begin before the end of the year, Allen said. A Request for Proposals is being prepared for the deployment study. Such a study has not been done in nearly 30 years.
“With the Foundation for the Future Fund, we have the resources to begin making the most important quality of life repairs and improvements outlined in the study,” Allen said. “At the same time, it’s important that we initiate the deployment study, which will help us make long-term decisions about where firehouses are located to maximize our emergency response time, ensure cost-effectiveness and continue improving fire service.”
The study was conducted by Bailey & Associates, an architectural firm, and Micro-Analytics, which conducted the environmental portion. The study cost $14,000. Both firms are located in Louisville.