Ky. fire station hit by lightning will take months to repair
The Daviess County Fire Department fire station was struck by lightning early in the month and repairs are expected to take between two to five months
By Jacob Mulliken
Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.
OWENSBORO, Ky. — Repairs to the Daviess County Fire Department's East Station are slated to take from two to five months according to Daviess County officials.
During the Daviess Fiscal Court meeting on Thursday, Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly and members of the court voted unanimously to approve a declaration of emergency to expedite the repairs process on the station that was struck by lightning on July 2.
"It (the declaration) allowed us to suspend our normal rules," Mattingly said. "Normally, we would have to put the project out for bid and do a request for proposal through our insurer KACo (Kentucky Association of Counties). It would usually take a month to get it all done. In this case, KACo will use a contractor that they are comfortable with. Right now, the estimate is somewhere between two to five months. Obviously, we want it done as quickly as possible."
KACo will be using disaster restoration provider Disaster Team Inc., 4100 Vincent Station Drive, for the cleanup and restoration of facility, Jordan Johnson, court purchasing agent, said, and as of now, a price tag for the project is unknown.
"They (firefighters) doused everything, internal and external," he said. "We have to get drying equipment in there pretty fast to fight the onset of mold and salvage all that we can. That is mostly what the declaration was for, to allow them to get in and begin the cleanup process. Their pricing model is the same as KACos, so the adjuster is happy with the estimates. Right now, there isn't an official cost. They will be replacing the interior walls, roof, trusses, which will be the majority of that expense, and then the entire thing has to be rewired."
For now, the East Station crew will be enjoying the hospitality of Fire Chief Bob Newman and the volunteer crew at the Thruston-Philpot Volunteer Fire Department 1, at 2592 Reid Road. While things were hectic during the days after the lightning strike, they have calmed down and it is business as usual, Newman said.
"We are glad to have them and glad to help them out," he said. "I'm glad we had the room to give them a place to live for a while. They are settled here and everything is calming down. I'm just glad we could put them up and that there is enough room for them to be comfortable."
While the repairs will realistically take five months, depending on weather and if Disaster Team comes across any surprise issues, county officials are hopeful that it will be done as quickly as possible, Mattingly said.
"In repair, you don't know what the damage is before you get there," he said. "They will have to repair a certain amount of trusses and maintain the integrity of the building to keep it secure it. ... In the meantime, the court will be paying the utilities for the Chief Newman's station, given that it will be going 24/7 with the East Station running out of it."
©2019 the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.)