GOSHEN — Goshen firefighters are still picking up the pieces, drying out their living quarters and assessing the damage after a 3-ton limb fell on the roof of Central Fire Station last week.
Danny Sink, chief of the Goshen Fire Department, said the storm that rolled through town Friday broke a limb off a tree that stood next to the station, puncturing the roof of the 54-year-old building. He told City Council on Tuesday about the extent of the damage and how much money it could take to address it.
“A limb the size of a tree came down and punctured the roof of Central Station – it came through the steel sheeting in two places. We have about seven holes in the roof,” he said. “It took out part of the parapet wall, it cracked the cement block we don’t know how far.”
The limb also bent an exterior duct in half and cracked the sidewalk. A crane was brought in to remove the branch the next day, while the tree itself was cut down, uprooted and taken away.
An exterior staircase may also need to be replaced, depending on the extent of the damage to the metal structure and the brick columns that hold it up. Sink said an engineer was scheduled to come in Wednesday and assess the damage.
Inside the station, one second-story office had to be emptied of furniture, ceiling tiles were removed throughout the upper floor and industrial dehumidifiers were brought in to dry out the sleeping area. Sink said firefighters will probably keep the fans running for at least a week.
“Friday and Saturday we were sleeping all over the fire house,” he said. “But the water’s not running through the fire station any more and we got things dried out.”
He said the hole in the roof was patched but the entire roof could stand to be replaced. While crews were able to find areas of water damage inside the building, he noted there could be cracks or other structural problems they can’t see.
He said early estimates for repair costs are in the $50,000 to $100,000 range. A new roof alone could cost $30,000, he said.
Mayor Jeremy Stutsman told council that the city’s insurance company should cover most of it.
He also remarked on the disarray he saw the day after the storm.
“The chief had called me early Saturday morning, and when I got there, tarps were on desks, water all over the floor, mattresses were thrown into the weight room,” he said. “Just trying to get everything out of the way as quickly as possible.”
Other station renovations
Stutsman also introduced a $150,000 appropriation to start tackling a list of improvements to all the stations that he gathered over the past several months with input from fire officials.
The total list of renovations adds up to an estimated $469,000.
“A big part of that is to the living quarters of each station. They’re just old. These guys spend a lot of time there, and it’s the time they spend when they’re away from their families,” he said. “The bathroom tiles are 1960s and they’re breaking apart and leaking now. There’s a lot of that type of stuff we’ll be able to do as well.”
He said the $150,000 from the public safety local option income tax fund should be enough to start with the living quarters at Central this year and maybe carry over to another station as well.
Councilman Doug Nisley asked about the cost of repairing Central Station vs. replacing it with a new building. Stutsman said they looked into the possibility a few years ago and learned it could cost about $7 million, or $20 million for a combined police and fire building that was considered at one time.
“That’s why we’re not looking at that. I don’t see it as feasible,” Stutsman said. “I think that’s why we need to maintain and fix what we have. Someday in the future that’s gonna be here, but I think we can keep working around it.”