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Great Falls Fire Rescue is getting facility upgrades

Great Falls Fire Chief Jeremy Jones
Posted at 6:04 PM, Aug 04, 2023

GREAT FALLS — A project that began during the month of July, Great Falls Fire Rescue will be upgrading four of their stations. Work that is needed includes HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.

Great Falls Fire Chief Jeremy Jones explained why upgrades are needed: "The stations were built 53 years ago, and during that time, 24/7, 365 (days of) use, our core services, such as our HVAC, our plumbing, and our electric have really gone downhill."

Jones said parts of the station didn't have heat, and no air conditioning leading to structural system failures.

About $2.9 million was allocated through federal ARPA funds that the city earmarked for public safety and law enforcement.

"Really what it's addressing is replacing our boiler system, our heating system, and shoring up our failed plumbing," Jones said.

GFFR also received $500,000 to replace overhead doors and $1.3 million to refurbish three fire engines, which is expected to make them last an additional 10 to 15 years.

Jones said, "We were very fortunate to address the need to our commission, and that they understand how valuable public safety is in our community."

Contractors are currently working on Fire Station 1, which they say will take the most time to complete.

Mark Walley, Superintendent for James Talcott Construction said replacing old fixtures similar to what they are doing at the Fire Stations is not very common.

"We had to come in here and do the abatement. We take up everything with all the asbestos in it ... It hasn't been remodeled in fifty years. There's stuff that's hidden in the walls. There's all kinds of stuff we're finding."

The completion of all four stations must be completed by 2026.

"Three years is a long service life to really have no major infrastructure improvements over that period of time," Jones said. To really make these last another 50 years, we've really got to shore up the basic principles of heating, electrical and plumbing to make sure that we can respond out of these stations and do our job, which is to protect our public."