KODIAK — The City of Kodiak may have found a site for a new Fire Station. According to city manager Mike Tvenge, the city is discussing the potential lease of a slice of land on the corner of Bartel Avenue and Chichenoff Street, which is owned by Providence St. Joseph Health.
“We’ve had a meeting and we’ve talked about leasing that property. We haven’t heard anything back yet,” said Tvenge.
The land is currently vacant, but is not clear of all vegetation. Tvenge said it appears to fit the criteria necessary for a new station.
The need for a new station was articulated by Fire Chief Mullican at a regular work session of the Kodiak city council in early September. At the work session Mullican presented the Kodiak Fire Department’s annual report, which included details of the damage caused by the magnitude 7.9 earthquake that was felt in Kodiak on Jan 23.
“The station has still got tremendous amounts of issues,” said Mullican at the work session.
According to Mullican, staff have had to deal with leaks, waterlogged panels and regularly have to fix issues with the station’s large doors. The single biggest issue with the station is the integrity of the building itself, which is riddled with cracks, leaving Mullican worried about the impact of future earthquakes.
“My real concern right now is not the 9.0s. I’m seriously worried about the 2.0s, the 3.0s,” said Mullican.
Notably, Mullican also talked about the various issues with the station doors, saying that the door became stuck “about a month ago,” when they were trying to get one of the engines out of the station (he noted that this was not during an emergency situation).
“It’s not an ‘if’ – it’s happened,” he said. “We’ve actually come up with a plan of what we’re going to do if we can’t get the doors open. So the plan is: we’re going to pull out our K12s and chainsaws and we’re going to cut the doors out, if we can’t get the apparatus out. It’s that simple.”
Mullican pointed out that a new station would need to be located somewhere that would allow for quick responses to any area around Kodiak and would have to be a large enough space to accomodate a fleet of seven large vehicles.
During an interview with the Kodiak Daily Mirror, Tvenge noted that the current fire station is in a projected tsunami inundation zone.
“The 1964 earthquake and tsunami reached the corner of the property,” he said, of the current fire station.
According to current inundation maps, in a worst case scenario rising waters could reach as far as the U.S. Post Office on Mill Bay Road.
The site on Bartel Avenue, however, is far from the inundation zone and looks to have enough space for the Fire Dept.’s gear and fleet.
“It’s one of the better spots we’ve identified and we’re looking forward to hearing back from Providence,” said Tvenge. “We’ve had a couple of meetings with them and we got down to some real encouraging discussions.”
A lease on the site must be finalized before any kind of design work can begin.
“Our focus right now is location,” said Tvenge.