Firefighters relocated closer to station, after vehicle crashes through building

6pm firefighters relocated closer to station, after vehicle crashes through building
(Source: Chief Keith Murray, LCFD)
(Source: Chief Keith Murray, LCFD)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - After a vehicle crashed into a Lake Charles fire station early Friday morning, Company Five firefighters were not only rattled, but left wondering if they'd still have a station.

Structural engineers and Public Works officials were at the fire station Monday to assess the damages from the crash. Ultimately they had to decide if the building was repairable or if firefighters would be looking for a new station.

"They believe that it can be repaired," that's what Fire Chief Keith Murray says structural engineers and Public Works officials decided Monday after doing a walk-through of the fire station.

And that's good news for firefighters of Company Five after the driver of a pickup truck crashed through a wall of the fire station early Friday morning, traveling some 30 feet through the building where it eventually came to a stop after hitting their fire wall.

While Murray says the fire wall will be the most expensive fix, there's no cost estimate or time frame on when repairs can begin. However, they have started their scope of work.

"Some of the things we're going to ask for is to make all the wall coverings in that huge room all match, make all the floor coverings all the same, that kind of thing. From that point, you can start following Louisiana bid laws and then you can go out for bid," explained LCFD Chief Keith Murray.

While response time hasn't been affected as Company Five firefighters continued making runs out of Station Six over the weekend; on Monday, they moved even closer to their station.

"We moved them into the hotel over there south of 210 and they're running out of their own run area now," said Murray.

But with fire ratings going on this week, Murray says they'll be moving again.

"In order for us to go and try to achieve those ISO points we told you about, which is property insurance points, we are going to try and get temporary living quarters for the men so they can have it outside in the yard of the station and we can put the truck in its own engine room. It's a two bay engine room," explained Murray.

While that allows workers to repair the station and keep the engine safe, Murray says it also means they should be able to get full credit for it.

"They've actually talked to us and made it clear that we're going to be okay," confirmed Murray.

Murray says they're not doing any favors for them, but rather, they'll be allowed to work in a time frame to get it repaired.

"Unless we drag our feet, we should have this station up and running by the time it matters," said Murray.

As for the firefighters, Murray says they're in good spirits. And while a similar incident happened some 35 years ago at the same station, through the same wall, firefighters say because no one was hurt, this is a story they'll be retelling for years to come.

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.