After about two months of work, Okanogan County Fire District 6’s new Winthrop fire station is on schedule to be completed by next fall, and should have a roof in the next few weeks.
“We’re on track to have a roof on and have what the construction company calls ‘dried in’ by Thanksgiving,” Chief Cody Acord said. “Big rush to try to get it done before the snow flies.”
The total project is projected to cost about $4 million and is paid for through an increased levy approved by district voters in May 2020 and $500,000 of a $1.8 million grant from the Bruno and Evelyne Betti Foundation, the district has previously reported.
The building will replace the district’s 4,400-square-foot station on Englar Street, which it rents from the town of Winthrop. Acord said the district and its equipment have long since outgrown the space.
“First and foremost is the safety of our firefighters and that’s going to be a huge improvement from what we have now,” Acord said. “From decontamination rooms to adequate shower facilities to adequate space around the vehicles. There’s one vehicle we cannot walk around in that station.”
All three vehicles stored in the facility now are inches from the front door, and only two have enough space for firefighters to walk behind. Side walls are also cramped, and barely leave volunteers with enough room to safely change into their gear.
“We’ve got to make sure we don’t move the truck when people are putting their gear on,” Acord said.
The nearly 12,000-square-foot station sits on a 5-acre parcel on Horizon Flats Road, and will include six vehicle bays, a meeting room, a multipurpose room, dining room, kitchen, offices and training space, and a first for the district — sleeping quarters.
“There’s some ideas floating around. We don’t have anything set in stone yet,” Acord said. We’re thinking maybe we could do a residency program.”
Another option, he said, would be to have volunteers work set shifts, which would improve response time. The district has six paid staff and 45 volunteers spread out throughout four stations. About 15 to 20 volunteers and three daytime staff will be based out of the new building.
The building is scheduled to be mostly finished by June, and the district plans to move in by September 2022.