Plans were in the works in 2003 for construction of a new Far East Side fire station in Columbus.
After a series of delays, city officials gathered Wednesday on Waggoner Road at the site of what will be Fire Station 35 to celebrate the groundbreaking.
The $11.5 million dollar project is scheduled to open in January 2020.
Columbus Safety Director Ned Pettus says the final design for the new fire station includes features intended to limit firefighters exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.
“(It) features … a walk through decontamination area for firefighters to utilize after a fire event, leaving their contaminated equipment outside of the living area,” Pettus said.
Cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters. Communities across the country are looking for ways to address the problem.
Fire Chief Kevin O’Connor said Fire Station 35 will be state-of-the-art.
“By the design of this station, it makes it very easy for them to decontaminate themselves and keep themselves clean because the reality of it is when they’re able to keep themselves healthier and cleaner they can provide better coverage to the neighborhood they’re providing service in,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said the additional fire station should reduce emergency response time on the Far East Side by more than 50 percent.
The chief says 27 firefighters will be assigned to the new station when it opens.