Murray to dedicate new fire station in a quiet ceremonyApr 15, 2020 11:34AM ● By Shaun Delliskave
Workers add the finishing touches and landscaping to the new fire station. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)
One might expect that the first big civic project completed in downtown Murray would open with a huge celebration—and that was the plan. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic quashed any ideas of a big party, causing the city to opt for a more low-key dedication of the new Murray fire department headquarters, which will open at the end of April.
“We’ll have a small gathering and hopefully be able to stream a … portion for the public to participate in through social media,” Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Joey Mittelman said.
Construction began in the fall of 2018 at the corner of 4800 South and Box Elder Street, several hundred meters west of the old fire station 81. The new two-story, 23,000-square-foot, five-bay fire station will house firefighters and paramedics as well as fire prevention and administrative offices. It also has a training area for all of Murray’s emergency personnel.
“Our new station will offer quicker and more informed dispatch to emergency responders throughout the fire station,” Mittelman said. “For example, each area is equipped with address, en route, and response information to better prepare the responders to know what emergency is coming in and the level of response required.”
According to Murray Mayor Blair Camp, in 2019 the Murray Fire Department responded to over 1,200 fire calls and nearly 5,000 calls for emergency medical services, resulting in over 2,200 ambulance transports.
The old station will be demolished; the city plans to extend Hanauer Street southward to Vine Street. The new station is seismically sound and engineered to carry out emergency plans during an earthquake.
Mittelman states, “Murray City is perfectly aligned with our four-station response throughout 12 square miles within the city. With current technology, we feel prepared and excited to provide the best service possible to our fellow Murray citizens.”
The original bid estimate for the fire station was $5.5 million, but the lowest bid on the project came in at $6.6 million—approximately $833,000 over the budgeted amount. Tariffs on construction materials and labor woes were responsible for an additional $1.25 million in construction costs.
“With some expected delays from materials, worker shortages, and weather, we’re happy to be completed this spring. The amount of construction Utah is experiencing has been the No. 1 struggle for delays we’ve experienced,” Mittelman said.
Included in that $1.25 million was $237,000 for environmental remediation. The site was a previous smelter and railroad location that needed extensive hazmat cleanup. The city reduced costs by canceling carpet contracts, eliminating 10 kilowatts of solar panels, and adjusting lighting fixtures. Also on the chopping block were the training facilities, but the City Council nixed those cuts.
“Murray now has a small portion of the westside of the station allocated for high-rise and search and rescue training. This will allow crews to stay within Murray City to complete the needed training,” Mittelman explained.
The new station includes heated bays for the engines and a large locker room immediately next to it. While the administrative offices and conference rooms take up the remainder of the first floor, living quarters for emergency responders take up the second floor. Though there is no iconic fireman’s pole connecting the two floors, there is one represented in the conference room.
Crews have been relocating gear and equipment since March. Not an easy task, considering that the fire department has also been preparing a response to handle the coronavirus outbreak.
“The transition period is crucial. We have all radios, alerting, and electronics that will be completed during the final week. During this time, we’ll utilize a pager model system for alerting responders to emergencies,” Mittelman said. “We love being a part of the community and look forward to serving for many generations to come.”