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Bargersville opens $2.1 million fire headquarters

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The new Bargersville fire station is on State Road 135 south of Whiteland Road. 
The new Bargersville fire station is on State Road 135 south of Whiteland Road. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON

Bargersville firefighters have moved into a new multimillion-dollar station on State Road 135

The Bargersville Fire Protection District has closed its 58-year-old headquarters on South Baldwin Street in the heart of town, after opening a new $2.1 million building. A crew of firefighters, an ambulance and the administration have moved into the new headquarters.

A contractor has nearly completed work on the 15,000-square-foot building that’s more than twice as large as the old station, Fire Chief Jason Ramey said. The new station has a training room and separate administrative section that the old headquarters did not.

Eleven firefighters will work at the new station at 3991 State Road 135, southeast of the Whiteland Road intersection and less than two miles away from the current station.

At a glance

The Bargersville Fire Protection District has opened and moved into a new headquarters on State Road 135.

What: Fire station and headquarters for a department that serves 63 square miles in Union, White River and Franklin townships

Where: 3991 State Road 135, southeast of the Whiteland Road intersection

Cost: About $2.1 million in construction costs

About: A 15,000-square-foot station with living quarters, administrative offices and a training room

Who’s there: 11 firefighters, including two ambulance paramedics

Bargersville originally had planned to build a new station farther north along State Road 135, but then Greenwood annexed land south to State Road 135 and Whiteland Road. Fire board members didn’t want a new station right across the street from where Greenwood firefighters would respond, and picked another site farther south on the highway.

The new location southeast of Whiteland Road is prominent and more visible to people passing through town, Ramey said.

Bargersville decided to close the former headquarters on South Baldwin Street downtown because it is more than 50 years old and too far from newer development along State Road 135, Ramey said. The 7,000-square-foot firehouse also was outdated, because it did not have a training room or separate living quarters for women firefighters.

From the new location, firefighters will have an easier time getting to fires and other emergencies in the southern part of the 63-square-mile district that sprawls over Union, Franklin and White River townships, Ramey said. They’ll also be able to travel quicker to new subdivisions along State Road 135 in the northern part of town and to intersections along the highway where a lot of car accidents take place.

They’ll no longer have to make four or five turns through tight intersections to respond to most calls, Ramey said.

Firefighters will still be able to take three different major thoroughfares into the old part of town between State Road 135 and N. County Road 450W, though responses could be slowed.

Ramey said it was more critical to be able to get south to rural areas in Union Township faster because firefighters have to haul water on tanker trucks to those fires, while they can hook their hoses to hydrants in town.

“We can shoot straight down the highway, and also get back up north just as fast,” he said. “Even if there’s a delayed response to some parts of town, they have an improved water supply. It’s more important to be five minutes faster to a place where you’ve got to shuttle water than to be a minute later to a house in town when there are hydrants and unlimited water available.”

The fire department has been planning a new fire station for years and borrowed $2.7 million last year. Plans originally called for building a third station on a 1.6-acre site in front of the Somerset subdivision on State Road 135.

Greenwood annexed land right across the street, and the board had second thoughts and purchased a new 2.5-acre site farther south for $212,000. The district already had spent $400,000 to buy land and $118,000 to design a station that will never be built.

Construction began in March on the new station that was modeled after the new Franklin fire department headquarters, located off State Road 44, as a way to cut down on architectural fees.

Bargersville made some adjustments based on what Franklin firefighters said, Ramey said. For example, they rerouted a hallway to link the living area with the administrative offices so that people don’t have to walk through the training room and disrupt training, he said.

The new facility is far less cramped than the old station, Ramey said.

“We had officers living in children’s bunk beds, crammed in what’s smaller than standard residential bedrooms,” he said. “They worked on computers where they flipped down the Murphy bed.”

The Bargersville Volunteer Fire Protection Board owns the old fire department headquarters and is looking to sell it or lease it, Ramey said. The building could potentially become home for the town street department or be used by private mechanics. {p class=”user”}Ramey said the fire protection district also is also trying to sell the 1.6-acre site along State Road 135. The district hopes that proceeds of a sale could be put toward expenses such as debt or the future replacement of fire trucks, he said.

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