Station addition to open to public
Accommodating a larger department and preparing for a growing Basehor has been a long and labor-intensive road for the Fairmount Township Fire Station.
But, the firefighters are finally ready to show off their hard work to the public.
The department is sponsoring an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20, at the station, 2624 N. 155th St. in Basehor. The main purpose is to show residents how their tax dollars have been utilized to make additions and improvements to the station, Lt. Kenny Magaha said.
"We want them to view what the firefighters have done because 80 percent of it has been done by volunteers to save on cost," he said.
Before construction on the addition began about two years ago, the station consisted of a small bay area that housed vehicles and a small multipurpose room that served as an office and meeting room. While the older part of the station is still in use, offices, a kitchen, a meeting area and a larger bay have been added onto on south side.
"The ladder truck didn't fit," Magaha said about the need for a bigger bay. "It fit down south at our other station, and we wanted it up here."
A staircase at the back of the new larger bay connects to another new addition -- upper level living quarters. Divided into male and female sleeping and restroom areas, the upper level also contains a day room, library, laundry facilities and kitchenette.
While the living quarters remain unused right now, the addition was an important investment in the future of the fire station and the city, firefighters say.
"With our call volume, we're not busy enough that we need 24-hour protection yet," firefighter Nick Verbenec said. "The volunteers can still keep up."
However, a few part-timers recently have been called upon to man the station from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. And, depending on the growth of the city and volume of calls, the need for full time firefighters is right around the corner. The living quarters could be in use within the next five years, Magaha estimated.
Other amenities at the new include air conditioning, a new sound system throughout the station and wireless Internet.
While Magaha said the new station would be the main attraction, fire station tours aren't the only thing on the agenda Oct. 20. Residents will also have the chance to take a ride in a fire truck and enjoy refreshments while visiting with their neighborhood firefighters. Games will be set up for children to play and the Basehor Police Department and Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office will be on hand to help parents create an Identi-Kid kit for their children.
The kit contains a photo of the child, fingerprints, medical records and any other distinguishing characteristics.
"These are in case, God forbid, they come up missing," safety officer Jim Dickey said. "It's not necessarily just for small children, but for teenagers too."
In the meantime, firefighters will be working on putting the final touches on the station before the open house, including laying carpet and placing tile upstairs.
Magaha and Dickey said a lot of sweat has gone into the project and they are "happy and proud" of their new and improved station.
"Everybody has been watching it go up and now they'll see what we've been doing," Dickey said.