HOLLY SPRINGS — Firefighters have operated out of a cramped trailer since an April tornado caused irreparable damage to one of the town's fire stations. But with the Holly Springs Town Council clearing the way last week for about $1 million in spending, a new brick building will soon house the displaced firefighters.
The town tore down the original, 4-decade-old station in May because fierce winds destroyed crucial roof elements. After the demolition, the town hauled an 80-foot trailer and a temporary garage to the lot, where fire crews have run a base of operations for southwest Holly Springs. Crews of three firefighters spend their nights at the temporary station, which is manned 24 hours a day.
"The living space is extremely tight. There's no office space, limited to no storage, our ambulance is displaced, our boats are displaced," said Chief Cecil Parker. "Yes, it has its limitations."
The town's insurance policy will pay about $440,000, or about 40 percent, of the town's construction costs. The policy covered replacement of the original station, but the town is spending more to expand the facility by about half to 7,000 square feet.
The new building will include larger vehicle bays, a new sprinkler system and room for a potential police substation, according to town staff. While the original was built of cinder block, the new building will feature a brick style similar to Holly Springs Town Hall.
"It'll be a newer, much more modern, cleaner looking facility," Parker said.
Holly Springs staff are negotiating the final details of the construction bid. The low bid of $1,067,700, by Modern South Construction of Raleigh, was only a few thousand dollars lower than its next competitor.
"They are a relatively new firm, and the bids were crazy close," said Town Attorney John Schifano. "We do want to make sure Modern South got everything in the bid right."
The damaged fire station was the town's first. Renamed Fire Station 2 after the town built a new central fire command, it was one of three the town operated. Construction at the site should begin within the month and is slated to take about nine months.
"We're very excited," Parker said. "We're looking forward to getting things under way."