Rector Fire Department Hold Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking for Rector Fire Department’s station addition took place on site Tuesday, May 2, with principals fire chief Hutie Bowden, mayor Teresa Roofe, and Piggott State Bank president Cody Knight shoveling the first piece of ground during the ceremony.
Brainstorming to design the components for the new construction and subsequent remodel of the existing space began over a year ago with chief Bowden, assistant chief Steven Sigsby, captain Steve Ward and captain Todd Watson taking the lead. Square Post of Northeast Arkansas submitted the winning bid for the addition and representatives of the company spent several days with the Rector Fire Department officers to hear their wishes and take appropriate measurements for the 30 x 60 building.
Assistant chief Sigsby said the structure will contain two bays for four vehicles: the fire and rescue truck, the service van, the brush truck, and a Kawasaki mule loaded onto a trailer for quick access as needed. Additional storage will also be available.
“The new building will be connected to the station by an eight-foot breezeway,” Sigsby said. “Reconfiguring and remodeling the current structure will take the break room area and additional area made available by moving some vehicles out and provide a large training room and more adequate break room for the fire department staff,” Sigsby added. “On the other side of the station, existing restrooms and the chiefs’ offices will be enlarged. Also, a new restroom with shower facility will be added so that, should the occasion arise, fire personnel could be accommodated for overnight. The remodeled areas will contain independent heat and air conditioning systems.”
Prior to the steel going up on the new construction, which will take only a few days, extensive dirt work and a concrete pad must be prepared. That building will be fitted with drop-down heaters. The main trucks will remain at the central fire station and the new tanker truck will be moved to Station 2 by the library.
Ongoing training for personnel is now being conducted at the Training Center on Main Street, but requirements for hands-on training must then relocate the group to the fire station where training facilities are inadequate. Training will be enhanced because of the new building. While Rector’s ISO rating is at a 4, the best in Clay County, Sigsby said, “we were so close to a 3 at the last evaluation, we are thinking this upgrade to our equipment, facilities, and training space will tip us to an even stronger ISO rating for the City of Rector.”
The cost of the new construction is estimated at $50,000 with funds necessary for the remodel and reconfiguration of the current fire station being added to that amount. Including the cost of dirt work and concrete slab, plus a new service truck, the total financial commitment is $102,000, with funds secured from Piggott State Bank in the form of a loan which was was closed recently.
“We are quite appreciative, also, of Rep. Joe Jett and Sen. Blake Johnson, who were instrumental in the department receiving an Arkansas Rural Development grant,” Bowden said. With these funds on hand, the entire project can be completed in a timely fashion.
Bowden and Sigsby mentioned how accommodating Piggott State Bank has been in the loan process.
“We are delighted to be working with the City of Rector to provide financial services,” Knight said. “The bank has a long history of connections with community. We are thrilled that working out this loan was our first chance to make a positive contribution to the City of Rector.”
Chief Bowden also shared that the department will be seeking donations from corporations known to be supportive of the organization’s past efforts.
Rector’s Fire Department includes four officers and 20 volunteers, 14 of whom are fully certified after extensive training, and six who are currently involved at various stages of the training process.