City officials said the damage to Columbus Fire Station No.5, caused by a pickup truck passing through the building on September 8, was not as severe as initially feared.
City Engineer Kevin Stafford said a report released last week by structural engineers who assessed the building showed that there had been no significant structural damage to the 40-year-old station on North Lehmberg Road.
“The report did three things,” Stafford said on Friday. “First, he assessed all the damage, determined which areas of the building were safe or unsafe to occupy and what needs to happen to fix it.”
Stafford said the main damage was to one of the two fire engine bays, the station’s water heating unit and its laundromat.
“My understanding is that the northern trucking area, dorms and offices can be safely occupied,” Stafford said.
The accident happened shortly before 2 a.m. on September 8 when a van crashed outside the station. Neither the driver of the truck nor the three firefighters at the station at the time of the accident were injured.
City public information official Joe Dillon said no charges have been filed against the driver of the truck, although the city’s insurance company is likely to file a claim against the driver. the driver’s insurance company to recover the costs of repairs.
Stafford said a contractor has submitted a bid for the repairs, but would not disclose the amount of the bid because another contractor has not yet submitted a bid.
Stafford said the costs would be lower than they would have been if the building had sustained major structural damage.
“Looks like it’s a 30 day repair if there are no supply issues,” Stafford said. “Most of the supplies are bricks and cinder blocks, so there shouldn’t be a delay with these materials. The roller shutter door over the bay would probably be the only thing there could be a delay with. “
Although the building can be safely occupied, Fire Chief Martin Andrews said firefighters will continue to work at the city’s new No.5 Fire Hall until repairs are complete.
“I don’t want them to be there while the construction crews are there. We don’t want the construction people to have to bypass firefighters and we don’t want firefighters to have to bypass crews if there is an emergency they need to respond to, ”Andrews said.
Pat Mitchell, who handles insurance matters for the city, said the city’s insurance policy provides for a $ 5,000 deductible for property damage.
“Hopefully we get the second bid from the contractor and can get on with the repairs very soon,” Stafford said. “We are relieved that the damage is not as bad as we initially feared. “
Slim Smith is a feature film columnist and writer for The Dispatch. His e-mail address is [email protected]