Aurora-Ross Fire Dept. Set to Open New Station
By Marlene Watkins
AURORA, KY -
The residents of the Aurora-Ross Fire District have something to be very proud of. A new facility is slated to completed by fall 2012.
Fire Chief Ricky Sirls stated "We are very proud of our new station. We have waited a long time for a facility this nice." In 1978 the Aurora-Ross Volunteer Fire Department moved into the current station with a building of just 4000 square feet. The new station is almost six times its size with a total of 22,300 square feet. The new station will have 4 drive through bays that can house a minimum of 8 response vehicles where the old station only had one. Sirls said "We only have the 1 bay right now. That makes it hard to try to park 3 trucks in one bay. It takes a lot of practice and time to get the trucks into the station in order to get them all in the one bay." The department has 4 trucks but with such a small building they have to leave one outside at all times.
With Aurora-Ross being 30 minutes away from the Marshall County Ambulance Service, Sirls stated that they wanted to be prepared in hopes that someday they could house an Ambulance. In addition to the 4 drive-through doors they added a bay specifically with that in mind. "We hope that in the future we can be of some assistance to the Ambulance Service. When it comes to providing service to the community we wanted to be prepared. We added the additional bay with that in mind."
With the Ice Storm in 2009 opening the eyes of many, Sirls said they used that as a learning tool. "During the Ice Storm we had firemen sleeping on cots at night to ensure that someone was available at all times for the residents of the district. If they needed assistance we were going to be there to help them out any time day or night." The new station will house a Firemen’s quarters that will be capable of sleeping 10 firefighters in the event of another catastrophic event such as the ice storm. The new facility will be a essential building based on load and wind shear. This means that this building meets the State code of a category IV essential facility. Category IV design building is for 20% more snow, 15% more wind and 50% more for seismic over and above the standard design. A full commercial kitchen which, when approved by the Health Department, will be able to be utilized to feed residents as well as our firefighters in the event of another catastrophic weather event such as an ice storm or a tornado.
By keeping in mind that something could happen, the department will be ready if the electricity should fail. With a generator large enough to power the entire station, they can maintain heat and air in the event of a lengthy power outage.
Many residents have concerns that with the new station taxes could increase. Sirls stated that "There will not be a change in the current tax rate paid by the residents of our district. The department has been saving for many years to build this new fire station."
In 2010 the board voted to start the building process. Brenda Sirls of Aurora donated the property where the station is currently being built. The board then spent many hours determining exactly what the station should look like and what features it needed to have to best serve the fire department as well as the community. In 2011 bids were accepted and Clark Construction of Murray, Kentucky was selected as the General Contractor. With grounds being broken in September 2011, the new Aurora-Ross Volunteer Fire Department is expected to be completed soon. The members of the department will host a Community Open House as soon as the building is complete