KINGMAN – A well-trained and happy fire department is one that can respond to emergencies quickly and efficiently, and Kingman firefighters at the City’s busiest location, Station 22, will boast those qualities now more than ever as work is underway for the construction of a brand new station and state-of-the-art training facility.
The age of the 3,800-square-foot Station 22 at 1605 Harrison St. is problematic for Kingman Fire Department. Fire Chief Jake Rhoades said the construction of the new 12,500-square-foot facility will give the department room to grow, a necessity for what he called the City’s busiest district, which accounts for approximately 22 percent of the department’s calls.
“Talk about a difference-maker for us, getting out of that station,” Rhoades said. “You’re talking about a 1962 station.”
The department currently has expensive equipment sitting outside and in storage containers, including a $500,000 hazmat trailer, which the larger facility will be able to accommodate. The new station will also house two public meetings rooms, training and conference rooms. All those meetings currently take place in a dayroom, Rhoades said, and the department has to bring in pop-up tables to populate the same space as recliners and TVs. The department’s emergency center will also fit in the new station, and it will house the battalion chief.
“It really just allows us to streamline a lot of things from simple space needs,” Rhoades said. “Guys live there for 48 hours at a time, and to be honest, it’s a quality of life thing.”
The less-than-ideal size of the current station even required KFD to custom build an engine to fit the small dimensions.
“The need is there, you can see it a mile away from the station itself,” Rhoades said. “We just had a new firetruck built, and we have to do certain things because of the size of that station. We have to specially design based on the dimensions of the current station.”
But there is also no shortage of maintenance issues at the 1962-built station. Water leaks and diesel exhaust filtration should not be worries that firefighters have to deal with on top of the stresses of their job.
The City budgeted $4.5 million from the capital fund in Fiscal Year 2018-2019 for the construction and furnishing of the new facility that will be placed on a 5.4 acre lot on the corner of East Andy Devine and Fairgrounds avenues. The current station will be demolished and a park will take its place.
Those funds will not only go toward the construction of the new station, but will allow for a much-needed four-story training tower. Rhoades noted Kingman doesn’t have any “true high-rises” but said there are certain tactics firefighters must employ whenever going vertical.
“We’re moving big hose through stairwells and tight spaces, and once you charge that hose line, it’s a bear,” Rhoades explained. “So it’s a technique, task-level issue that, quite frankly, you’ve got to practice.”
The training facility will also include a burn room far larger than what is currently used at Station 22. Rhoades explained that firefighters can complete a mock search at the current facility in all of about 30 seconds, which he called unrealistic.
“It’s a complex training tower that allows us to do a lot of things,” he added. “It’ll be great for everyone. I really think it will.”
The “everyone” he mentioned speaks to nearby departments like those of the Golden Valley and Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire districts. Those first responders work closely with KFD on calls and will also be able to make use of the training facilities.
“This allows us to become more of a regional training center for all the departments around us and get us all on the same page,” Rhoades said.
The City of Kingman released last week that it and KFD will enter into preconstruction contract negotiations with Core Construction for the project. Rhoades says the department hopes to break ground on the project that is 20 years in the works as early as September of this year, with a live-in date of December 2019.