Work to rebuild tornado damaged fire station begins

Work to rebuild tornado damaged fire station begins
Visible construction work has started to rebuild Eufaula’s Northside Fire Station. (Source: Randi Hildreth)

EUFAULA, Ala. (WSFA) - Visible construction work has started to rebuild Eufaula’s Northside Fire Station.

The March tornado crumpled the building. Thursday, construction crews had a new frame up for the facility.

“Get things back to normal. They’re in a makeshift station, so they can service residents on this end of town. It’s great to get this done and it’s going to be super nice,” said Mayor Jack Tibbs.

Tibbs says the city had to re-engineer the design and update codes for the structure. He says they’ve added a stronger, wider metal framework for the building and doubled the number of bolts used to hold the structure down on the foundation. But it’s not just the framework that will include safety upgrades - it carries over to what’s inside the building.

“In engineering it we put in a safe room. During the tornado event we had two firemen here and they’re mighty lucky they didn’t get hurt. They got inside the bathroom and just hunkered down. When it was all over. They looked up and saw sky when the tornado passed,” said Tibbs.

According to FEMA’s website, a tornado safe room must be designed for wind speeds up to 250 miles per hour.

Mayor Tibbs says the bulk of the construction for the fire station and neighboring airport that were damaged was covered through insurance and grant money.

He says they expect the firefighters to move from their makeshift station at the airport terminal into the new station in December.

The fire department also purchased a new fire truck. The tornado damaged the station’s truck. They were able to use insurance money to help cover the purchase.

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