Fire station moves to temporary building

The first step in being able to build Kaplan’s new fire station was to find temporary housing for the old structure to be demolished.

The search ended in February when the Kaplan Fire Department moved into the old Red Bernard building on Veterans Memorial.

“Even though temporary,” said Fire Chief Donald Meaux, “not just any building would do. We have to follow strict guidelines from the Property Insurance Agency of Louisiana which governs codes for all commercial buildings in the state.”

Meaux said some of the requirements included an enclosed building which would house all fire equipment, had to have heat, and had to be within so many miles from the city.

One of the sites considered was on Highway 696 which had a building large enough to house the trucks, but had no housing.

As the search continued, it became known that the old Red Bernard Building was to become vacant.

“With just a few modifications, and a lot of volunteer elbow grease,” said Meaux, “the building met most of our needs. And most importantly, it is centrally located.”

The one thing that will be added is a kitchen, he said. Items from the old location will be brought to help set up the new kitchen.

The building and warehouse is being leased on a month to month basis for $1,000 a month from Chester Richard.

The new station will be built in the same location as the old facility.

The projected date of completion for the new fire station is March 2010.

Two items the fire chief wants the public to be aware of is that all fire calls are now going through 911 only. The old number of 643-7311 is no longer in operation.

The business phone, however, will remain the same.

The other item is for all drivers to be aware of fire trucks getting on the highway at the new location.

“Please be aware of our new location,” said Chief Meaux, “and give our trucks the right of way on Highway 14.”

“I also want to give thanks to all our volunteers who helped make this location change a smooth one at no cost to the city. Everything was done by the volunteers.”

The Kaplan Fire Station employs five full time staff members with 20 volunteers.

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