Plan taking shape to renovate Carol Stream fire station

In 1975, Carol Stream firefighters moved into a station on Schmale Road.

Even after 40 years, the location still works for covering emergencies in a now heavily developed part of town, Chief Rick Kolomay says.

But safety and training standards have evolved, and parts of the aging structure itself don't meet those benchmarks, Kolomay says. That's largely because the 6,200-square-foot building was converted from a gas station.

"Right now, we're making do with what we can," he said.

Kolomay hopes a proposal to renovate and reconfigure station No. 29 will come into clearer focus next month, when the fire protection district trustees will meet with contractors. They also will discuss how to pay for improvements during the Jan. 25 meeting.

The cost of the project could range from $2 million to $2.5 million, given the scope of the work the district has asked contractors to review, Kolomay said. The district could finance the work by taking out a loan, through existing funds, a combination of the two or phasing in renovations over several years, the chief said.

"We're still in an investigation period of what we can possibly do, what we can afford," Trustee Karl Langhammer said.

Though structurally sound, there are relics from the former gas station. Take, for instance, a roof that's too low to park a ladder truck indoors.

The size is smaller than the typical secondary station, which tend to cover 11,000 to 15,000 square feet, but an addition isn't planned. Storage of equipment and parts for fire trucks could move to a stand-alone structure in the rear of the building to free room inside.

Five or six firefighter-paramedics staff the station round-the-clock. Kolomay has said their living quarters should be expanded, arranged as cubicles with a desk, a few lockers and a bed in a 1993 addition on the south end of the building at 275 S. Schmale Road.

A study two years ago confirmed that the location is ideal to handle the types and volumes of emergency calls in the area, Kolomay said.

But the station, he said, needs updating to meet standards by the National Fire Protection Association that, among others, determine how firefighters should decontaminate their gear.

The Jan. 25 board meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the headquarters station, 365 N. Kuhn Road.

  Workout equipment is squeezed into the apparatus floor at the station on Schmale Road. Mark Black/, September 2015
  Sleeping cubes are housed in a 1993 addition. Mark Black/, September 2015
  A backup generator would likely move out of the station house and into a separate, stand-alone facility. Mark Black/, September 2015
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