New fire station opens doors in Germantown

Monday, January 9, 2012

Firefighters at Germantown Fire Station 4 have stopped camping out in their "cabin" -- a single-wide FEMA trailer -- now that the city has opened its new, $3.15 million two-story firehouse.

The new station, one of four in the city, replaces what essentially started out as a four-bay garage built to house fire equipment for volunteers in 1967.

When experts rated the old building's structure in 2008, they predicted it would likely collapse or suffer severe structural damage if a tornado or earthquake were to hit. Now, the new station at 3031 Forest Hill-Irene Road near Poplar is one of the safest places in town. It's built to withstand a 7.7 magnitude earthquake and winds up to 90 mph.

"I'm thrilled that it is finally open. We can house our 100-foot aerial platform truck with ease now," City Administrator Patrick Lawton said. "It shows the city's commitment to reinvesting in its infrastructure."

Once the necessary documentation is sent to the U.S. Green Building Council, the station is expected to be the first certified "green" public building in Shelby County. The county currently has 11 LEED-certified "green" commercial, industrial or retail buildings. City officials hope the station qualifies for a silver rating as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or a LEED, building.

And for the first time, Germantown has a firehouse with a 4-inch stainless steel pole to slide down in an age when other cities are scratching the feature because of potential injuries. Firefighters moved in Dec. 16.
The new station has a 48-seat training room, eight dorm rooms with four shared bathrooms in the middle, three drive-through bays, a police office and a backup 911 dispatch center and a backup computer server room. There's also a stainless steel commercial kitchen, a day room with eight recliners, flat-screen televisions and an exercise room.

Fire Chief John Selberg is excited about the station's new training area that can be divided into two classrooms when needed.

"We can bring any kind of fire-training or nonfire training classes you can think of," he said.

The room has laptop computer tables with plug-ins, two flat-screen televisions and two projectors.

Firefighters will no longer have to use the Police Department's training room or get fire extinguisher powder on all the police cars when they practice their hands-on training, Selberg said.

Belz Investco was the contractor.

The station covers an area just over four square miles with 280 acres of undeveloped commercially zoned land and almost 360 acres of undeveloped residentially zoned land. It averages between 800 and 1,000 ambulance and fire calls a year and makes many of the mutual-aid calls to Collierville or Shelby County. --

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Commercial Appeal Lela Garlington: (901) 529-2349