Montague firefighters modernize with $1.8M fire station

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

For 47 years, Montague’s firefighters have responded to fire and medical emergencies from a 7,500-square-foot metal pole building with inadequate heat and emergency vehicles practically stacked atop one another.

This summer, the 139-year-old fire department moves into a modern $1.8 million, 16,820-square-foot facility on 11 acres in the Montague Industrial Park.

“All 22 of our firefighters are licensed EMTs, EMT specialists or paramedics,” says Fire Chief Dennis Roesler. “We currently don’t have any full time people, but we tried to think ahead and added a shower and bunk rooms to sleep three people.”

Nearly 12,000 square feet of bays will house the pumper engines, tankers and other equipment. In addition, the station has five administrative offices, a training room and a 60-seat room armed with technology for training sessions and meetings.

Practicing rescues is crucial to keeping the firefighters up-to-date on techniques. A hatch on the 22-foot-high roof allows them to learn roof access techniques, a 14-foot-high mezzanine is ready for rappelling practice, and the 11 acres allows space for rescue reenactments. Firefighters can also hone their skills for operating the department’s thermal imaging camera in a smoke-filled room.

“We have a smoke generating machine,” Roesler says. “You can’t see two feet in front of your face, but it’s a harmless smoke so it doesn’t hurt people or the building.”

Roesler hopes the new station will improve the fire department’s ISO classification from class five to class four. That would lower the insurance rates for area homeowners.

“Out of the 1,091 fire departments in Michigan, only 86 have a better classification,” Roesler says. “We only need half a point to become a Class Four, and if we do, only 21 departments will have a better rating.”

Architect Don Hansen of Muskegon-based Dimensions in Architecture designed the building. Triangle Associates is the general contractor.

Source: Dennis Roesler, Montague Fire Department

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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