Indiana Town’s New Fire Station Stalled

December 10, 2014

Leaders of a central Indiana town’s volunteer fire department hope construction will resume next year on its new station after the contractor stopped work five months ago over nonpayment.

The walls of the two-story, steel-frame building are up in the Bartholomew County town of Hope, but lots of things are unfinished, including heating and air conditioning systems, The Republic of Columbus reported.

It will cost about $79,000 and take six weeks of work to complete the building, with the money coming from fundraisers and the department’s fire-protection contracts with Flat Rock Township and Hope, department treasurer Edwin Stone said.

Work started in late 2012 on the new station. The first delays came when the department allowed builder Tim Ross to first fulfill other long-term contracts in exchange for a less-expensive rate, Fire Chief Bruce Neal said.

Other problems emerged when the county building inspector required the addition of a fire wall and moving of electrical outlets in the station. Stone said the department was unable to keep making regular payments to the builder after going through a $600,000 loan.

“It got to the point where if we would have had a major breakdown, we would have had to choose between providing fire protection or continuing construction,” he said.

Ross pulled out his workers and equipment in July, the project about 80 percent complete.

“We donated a lot and discounted our labor, but we had a substantial amount of money we owed. I just couldn’t do it anymore,” he said.

Department officials are working with building inspectors to find ways of making the necessary changes at the least possible cost.

“Our main thing right now is to pass code inspection, so we can get an occupancy permit,” Stone said. “We don’t even own the building until it passes code.”

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