KEENE — Cement blocks and steel studs form the skeleton of the new Fire Station here.
Walls around the fire truck bays are made of concrete blocks filled with cement and rebar.
None of it could burn.
The new Keene Fire Station was built to withstand explosions and natural disasters, from wind or rain or earthquakes.
But the Keene Volunteer Fire Department gained this new station from disaster. Built at a cost of $2.4 million, the new station is industrial in size and strength.
And it is high and dry, away from the sinuous rivers that cut through the valley here and especially Gulf Brook, the stream that took down half of the old fire station and undermined the entire foundation during Tropical Storm Irene.
Keene had to rebuild at a new location, as there isn’t any law to exempt fire departments from regulations that require septic systems be placed away from waterways.
And the old station sat right on the banks of Gulf Brook.
“Construction is at an interesting stage,” Sean Foran, project manager from Hueber-Breuer Construction, told a tour group this week.
“You can see a lot of what is going into this kind of station. It is 85 percent complete and will be substantially done by May 15.
“The trucks go in on Memorial Day.”
“In any disaster, this will be the last building standing,” Foran added. “I’ll guarantee it.”
Keene’s five fire trucks will all fit inside the new station, with room in the back for one more.
Currently, the trucks are housed in different sites throughout Keene.
The one open truck bay leaves room for training sessions from a concrete mezzanine floor above it.
The mezzanine cost about $7 a square foot to build, Foran said.
It is fitted with a trap door that drops into the bunker gear room below, designed to facilitate confined-space firefighter training.