GLADSTONE, Mo. — A Northland fire station that closed because it was not “fit for people to be in,” according to Jimmy Walker, deputy fire chief with the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department, could soon see some upgrades.
"You don't want to have people in this place,” Walker said of Fire Station No. 40 near North Oak Trafficway and Vivion Road.
Back in September, the question was whether to replace or remodel Fire Station 40, which is why Wednesday’s city resolution gave the green-light for nearly $800,000 in grant money to begin repairs and bring the station up to code.
"It's not uncommon in our 150-year history for us to close down a station and have to cover it with area neighboring stations,” Walker said.
Fire Chief Donna Maiz said that Fire Station No. 6, as well as others, helping cover the area, which takes resources from primary coverage areas, has moved up “some things we’re having to do.”
Walker said it is “a given” that response times are affected when a station closes. Station No. 40 has been out of service since September 2019, according to Walker, and needs a lot of attention.
"First off, it's just small, and it doesn't meet the needs of our diverse workforce now,” Walker said. “We have a lot more females. When this station was built, there were no females."
Now, with more women joining the department, they need proper facilities that the station in its current form does not have.
"We have two toilets for the entire station,” Walker said, “and they are right off the kitchen right next to the stove to be honest.”
Besides that – Walker said the station currently is on a septic holding tank, which is just a sewage holding tank.
“So what that means is it's just basically a tank where every time you flush it, it goes out to a tank that's buried outside and they have to come out and pump it every week,” said Walker, who explained that the issues they experience with the tank becoming backed up, caused raw sewage to flow back into the station a number of times.
“So we're hoping that with the funds we can get this station on the sewer system, you know bring it up to maybe the 20th century."
On top of the list of priorities for Station No. 40 is a new roof, ventilation system and sewage system.