City starts process to build bigger Engine Co. 2

There’s less than an inch of clearance between Pumper 2’s ladders and Engine Co. 2’s door frame.


COVINGTON, Ky. - Stack 10 quarters on top of each other. 

That’s the distance between the ladder on top of Pumper 2 and the door frame on the Covington Fire Department’s Engine Co. 2 on Parkway Avenue.
“We back that truck in very carefully - there’s no room for error,” Lt. Jimmy Adams said. “And in the winter we have to be especially vigilant in making sure there isn’t any snow or ice on the ground that makes the truck higher.”
The side clearance - between the mirrors and the side door frame - isn’t much bigger, maybe the thickness of three more quarters. Consequently, the “passenger” side door won’t open all the way. It hits shelves that hold extra turnout gear, leaving firefighters little room to grab gear, dress, and get in the truck - all during emergencies when seconds count.
“When they built this station in the 1930s, fire trucks were a lot lighter and smaller,” Covington Fire Chief Mark Pierce said. “Company 2’s building has reached the end of its useful life, and it’s time to replace it.”
The Covington City Commission took a step forward Tuesday night in that process. The board voted 5-0 to authorize Chief Pierce to seek proposals from companies to do a site and facilities study related to replacing Company 2 with a bigger fire station. The RFP (Request for Proposals) went out today with bids due by April 29. You can see the RFP, HERE
The selected company will: 
  • Collect data on fire runs, response times, and future growth as part of a site analysis.
  • Work with City fire officials to identify space and site requirements.
  • Develop basic size, shape and site layouts for a new facility on a preliminary basis; then an initial design of the preferred option; and then final building renderings. (Each step will require City Commission direction to move forward.)
  • Develop cost estimates for construction and related activities. 

Covington’s fire station on Parkway Avenue doesn’t look much different now than it did in 1961.

The process is expected to take 15 weeks.
As requested by the City Commission, the RFP also requires the company to keep the Commission updated throughout the process and to seek feedback and comments at each stage.
Funding for the study, any land acquisition, and design work is provided by a $300,000 grant the City received from the Kentucky Department for Local Government several years ago. The grant can be used for everything except actual construction costs, Chief Pierce told the Commission several weeks ago.
The Chief said a new station represented a critical investment in the City’s future. While the Department thinks it is important to have independent, outside experts do the analysis, he hopes to see a new Company 2 one day that is not only big enough for modern fire trucks but also can hold more than one vehicle.
The current building is squeezed onto a corner lot at a five-way intersection, its side windows mere feet from the road, just blocks from the Ludlow border.
“Residents and businesses of Covington are used to receiving high-quality fire and safety protection, and we need to be able to continue that level of service,” Pierce said. “The City calls on its firefighters and ambulance crews to do a large and important task, and it’s challenging to perform that task from a 90-year-old facility that is essentially a small house.”  
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Circles mark the locations of Covington’s fire stations in the districts that they are supposed to cover. Note that much of Engine Co. 2’s district consists of Devou Park to the south and west.

Run data shows that Covington’s Station 1 is by far the busiest of the Fire Department’s five locations. NOTE: Numbers include ambulance runs and the multiple units that might be dispatched to a given scene.

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