MFPD board plans to award bid for new firehouse

Board votes in closed session to demote captain to private.


The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors is scheduled to award a bid today — April 15 — for the construction of a new No. 4 firehouse on Tesson Ferry Road.

The Board of Directors will meet at 5 p.m. in the Conference Room at the fire district’s headquarters, 11020 Mueller Road.

Board members last week opened 14 bids for the construction of the new firehouse, which will be built on a one-acre parcel at 13117 and 13119 Tesson Ferry Road.

The site, across the street from the current No. 4 firehouse at 13106 Tesson Ferry Road, was purchased by the district in September for $800,000.

The existing No. 4 firehouse, built in the mid-1960s, is deteriorating and needs to be replaced, according to Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer.

The base bids opened last week for the construction of the new firehouse range from $1,439,000 to $1,646,818. Archimages of Kirkwood, selected by the board in December to provide architectural and engineering services to design the firehouse, will analyze the bids and make a recommendation to the board on which one to accept.

“… We were really pleased by the low bid. Now I don’t know if that’s what Arch-images is going to recommend …,” Hilmer told the Call.

Archimages also provided design services for the district’s new No. 2 firehouse at 5434 Telegraph Road, which was completed last year.

“This firehouse is actually going to be a little bigger than the one we recently built on Telegraph — house 2. We wanted to maintain the same aesthetics as far as how it looks, but it is going to be slightly larger …,” Hilmer said.

The one-story energy-efficient building on Tesson Ferry Road will have about 8,500 square feet of space and three engine bays.

Chief Tim White told the Call that some of the differences between the new No. 4 house and the recently completed No. 2 house include an additional sleeping room, or “pod,” that was added for future expansion, a slightly expanded captain’s quarters, a decontamination room off the engine bay and a separate room for firefighters’ turnout gear.

“In the No. 2 house, the workout room was actually part of living quarters,” White said, adding he moved the workout area to the back of the engine bay. “That allowed the room for the extra pod. So basically the extra pod is where the workout room was,”

Another change from the No. 2 house is the addition of a mezzanine, which will allow firefighters to perform training exercises inside the firehouse. Anchors will be incorporated into the masonry that will be used as repelling points “so they can actually practice repelling maneuvers within the engine house,” White said.

The board chairman said he was pleased with the number of bids submitted.

“I had a feeling we would get a lot of competitive bidding given the economy and the state of construction,” Hilmer said. “So I think that’s a real boon for the residents and I think what’s really great is over the last five years we have stocked away this money, saved it, so now we’re building a building without having to pay any interest costs.

“We’re building it for cash and we’re able to build it in a depressed time when we bought the land at a below-appraisal price and we’re going to build a building much less than it would have cost us to build five years ago.”

Since Hilmer and board Treasurer Bonnie Stegman took office in April 2005, two new firehouses have been constructed — the No. 2 house on Telegraph Road and the No. 1 house at 3241 Lemay Ferry Road.

“Since Bonnie and I were elected, this is the third firehouse that’s going to be built for cash — three out of seven so far,” Hilmer said. “I think it’s a tremendous accomplishment. The one compliment I heard most from people over the last year, especially in Oakville, is what an asset they think that house 2 is.

“And we’re looking forward to bringing that now to people who live off Tesson Ferry.”

In a separate matter, the Board of Directors voted unanimously in an April 8 closed session:

• To suspend Capt. Marty Wehrman without pay for two days; take him off the overtime list for six months; and demote him to the rank of private in connection with an April 7 written reprimand.

• To suspend Pvt. Don Wood, an engineer, without pay for two days and take him off the overtime list for three months in connection with an April 7 written reprimand.

Hilmer declined to comment on the board’s action, saying the issue was a personnel matter.

Capt. Nick Fahs, president of Local 1889 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, was unavailable for comment before press time.