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News Story
Updated: 02/20/2014 08:00:03AM

An inside look at the county’s most debated building

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The ceiling of the canopy where vehicles are stored shows significant rust.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
DeSoto County Fire Rescue Chief Larry Taylor is charged with protecting the health and safety of DeSoto County residents as well as seeing to the safety of the Fire Rescue staff.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The building At Fire Station #1, which was vacated and stripped down, shows signs of corruption and mold, for example, near this ceiling vent.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
Corrosion of the building is evident to the point where you can see daylight through holes along the floor. The building was vacated in 2010 and was recently stripped down to determine whether it was strructurally sound.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
Support posts for the canopy show rust and corrosion near the base.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
Some vehicles have to be parked outside under a canopy because there is not enough space for them to be driven inside the building. Because of that the equipment is kept locked.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The structure is weakened as indicated by rust visible along the beams and joints.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
Lack of maintenance is evident from the plants sprouting in the drain gutters along the edge of the roof.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
Turn-out gear and other equipment and supplies has to be kept out in the garage area, not in a separate place as at other, because of limitations of space at Fire Station #1.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
Deterioration of the old building (originally an auto dealership) is one reason the county commissioned a study to evaluate whether Fire Station #1 can be saved or would have to be rebuilt.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
Fire Rescue Chief Larry Taylor _____

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The roof of the old fire station building (formerly a car dealershop) shows deterioration along the eedges. Patches on the roof indicate where features were removed and repaired.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The roof of the old fire station building has been patched in several places. Rust and deterioration are visible on the roof.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The building at Fire Station #4, on State Route 72 west of town, can house the fire vehicles inside and allows ample space for large trucks to turn around.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The newest of DeSoto's fire stations. #4 on State Road 72 west includes secured areas where turn-out gear and be safely kept.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The living quarters at the new fire station on State Road 72 west are not luxious but are comfortable for the men an women who work there, offering a kitchen to prepare and eat meals, and sleeping quarters that offer some privacy -- unlike at Station #1 where multiple beds are crammed together in every corner.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
Fire Station #4 on State Road 72 offers adequate space for large vehicles to turn around and to pull into the covered garage. Construction costs exceeded initial estimates when unexpected geological conditions where encountered after construction began.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The common arreaas of Fire Station #1 are barely adequate for all the firefighters who work there in a typical shift.

By Steve Bauer

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Public Safety Chief Larry Taylor doesn’t mince words when it comes to his opinion of the current state of Fire Station 1. “It’s unacceptable. The staff working out of that facility deserves better,” he said.

The facility, on S.E. Carlstrom Field Road in Arcadia, was originally built in the early 1960s to house a car dealership and eventually became the department’s main hub. Years of neglect and wear, however, forced staff out of the main building in 2010, and they now use a mobile modular unit as their living quarters.

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