MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Those living in and around the Oakdale Community in Mobile might have to wait a few extra minutes on the fire department to arrive. On Tuesday, June 25, Mobile Fire-Rescue shut down Willett Station, or Station 11, on the corner of Gorgas and Broad streets.
Fire officials told FOX10 News there will be a delay in response time.
It all started on Tuesday when an inspection was being because of a leak in the roof. What they found was much more than what they expected, resulting in the immediate closure of the station.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, firefighters were spotted carrying belongings out of the fire station and placing them in their cars.
"There was a leak discovered coming into the engine room. They went into check it, determined that the roof was in serious condition. Yesterday, the decision was made to move the crews out. From a safety standpoint, we made a decision to move the units and the personnel out and place them at other stations because there was concern that the roof could collapse," said Steve Huffman, with the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department.
Barbara Drummond with the City of Mobile tells FOX10 News it was much worse than expected.
"Found that the roof trusses were rusted out which caused actually a safety hazard as well as a structural damage to the fire station," said Drummond.
On Wednesday, June 26, the city's architecture and engineering division was on site.
"They're determining what engineer they'll bring aboard to go and look at the problem and sort of access what will it take to get the structural damage repairs," said Drummond.
That means, until further notice, engines 2 and 11 have been placed at other stations: Engine 2 at Central Fire Station downtown and Engine 11 at Station 20 on DIP.
"Because they're not in the same location, there will be some issues with response time. It shouldn't be a great deal of change. But yeah, obviously there will be a response issue," said Huffman.
Mobile Fire-Rescue says since 2009, nearly 30 fires have occurred in the Oakdale Area and Oakleigh District on Elmira Street and Marine Street, just to name a few.
"You had 29 fires when the station was there. They actually have twice the coverage now because the fire chief has placed both of those engines…they will have coverage from Central Fire Station…and DIP…then also from Hallsmill," said Drummond.
FOX10 News checked into the first response areas for those stations. Central is nearly two miles away from Station 11 and covers north of Texas Street while Station 20 is 6 miles away and covers south of Military Road.
"We take response time very seriously and will work as hard as possible to get that station back up and running. But we did not want that station open in the conditions it was in," said Drummond.
The fire department and the city both tell FOX10 News there is not a time frame on when the station will be fixed. After engineers look at the damage, a proposal will then go to the city for approval. That could take several weeks.
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