(Crystal A. Proxmire, 9/25/2011)
In the beautiful sunshine of a September Saturday afternoon, two Ferndale business owners were hard at work the Ferndale Fire Department’s Headquarters and main fire station at 1635 Livernois, cutting out sections of the building’s front wall to increase the openings for the garage doors so the new fire truck can fit.
Dave LeAnnais of The Thomas Company had his son Thomas and another worker Michael Luketich moving concrete while Jim Rhode of Rhode’s Welding cut through the giant beam of the door’s frame with a large torch.
Both local contractors have worked with the City in the past. Rhode’s Welding has been serving Ferndale since at least 1965 as the inspection and repair company for the city’s leaf vacuums. “I got the bid and I hired Jim Rhode’s because he does the best steelwork in the state, and he’s here in Fendale too,” LeAnnais said as he watched Rhodes work amid a shower of smoke and sparks.
LeAnnais, a life-long builder, also happens to have family property directly across Livernois from the station, making work on the building quite convenient. He is proud of showing his son the ropes, and says he looks forward to Thomas taking over someday. “This is my son, and some day he’s going to be running the family business,” he said. “Make sure you tell people that. I’m really proud of him.”
The City is spending approximately $32,000 to raise the clearance of two bay doors to allow for the new ladder truck which was purchased in April with help from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) grant money. In the meantime the truck is being stored offsite.
“We started back in January to hire TDG Architects to look into the feasibility of the project,” explained a memo to the City from Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan dated September 12. “They came up with a design plan that would work for our existing structure modified and retrofit with new external roll-up doors.
“Once the feasibility was determined and architectural drawings were received, we consulted DPS on contractors capable of doing the work. I then contacted local contractor Dave LeAnnais, obtained a cost estimation and construction process to complete the work from him.
I then submitted the project two fold – the door opening portion of the project and the door installation portion of the project for bids on the MITN system for a two week period and received only one official accepted bid by the Clerk’s office for the door opening portion of the project.
“The Thomas Co. does excellent work and they are a local Ferndale family business. I believe the lack of bids was due to the fact that Headquarters is an old building, it is very difficult and arduous work with a high liability factor. If not supported correctly the front of the building would collapse. There is also an old lead paint factor so the company handling the project must be trained and certified in lead removal which lowers the number of applicable contractors dramatically.”
The work is expected to take two weeks to complete. Check out the plans yourself on the City of Ferndale website. To find out more about the new fire truck, and Ferndale fire rescue in general, check out these previous Ferndale 115 News stories:
http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/04/13/new-fire-truck-arrives-safely/, http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/07/20/firemen-get-first-feel-of-new-truck/, and http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/01/12/tools-of-the-trade-in-the-ferndale-fire-department/.