City firefighters already using station on Ky. 245

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By Randy Patrick

It doesn’t look like a firehouse yet, but the former Newcomb Oil company headquarters at 1360 John Rowan Blvd. is being used by the Bardstown Fire Department even before plans are made for its renovation.

The city purchased the property from Newcomb Oil for $940,000 to be its main fire station, which will give the fire service the room it needs to accommodate its recent expansion.

Part of the space at the back of City Hall, which has been the department’s only firehouse for decades, will still be used as a satellite station, but part of it will be used by the city’s electric and cable services.

That space had gotten crowded as the Bardstown Fire Department became a full-time service a couple of years ago and added more firefighters and equipment.

“There’s no more being on top of everything,” Chief Billy Mattingly said during a recent walk-through of the new building between Louisville and Bloomfield roads.

The old firehouse is 7,782 square feet, and the new one is about 15,000 square feet and sits on 7.5 acres of land with outbuildings that can also be used.

The new headquarters will have more space for dormitories, bathrooms for men and women firefighters, more space for fire engines, ladder trucks and other apparatuses, offices for the chief and assistant chief, classrooms for training, a kitchen and space to display vintage equipment.

The bay will be three or four times bigger than the space the Fire Department now has for its trucks, Mattingly said. The city will no longer have to buy trucks that are built low enough to the ground to clear the low doors at the current station, which has in the past cost the city more money.

It will be sometime next year before the main building is completely renovated.

“The architect working on the plans right now said nine months from when they get started. I think that’s everything. It’s going to take a little while still,” Mattingly said.

But the department already has firefighters staying overnight in a camper on the property and has a pumper in the bay so that it can count as a fire station and possibly lower the city’s ISO rating, which can affect homeowners’ insurance rates.

The Insurance Service Office, a for-profit organization that provides statistical information on risk, rates fire departments based on a number of factors, such as proximity of fire stations to population. Mattingly said there is an ISO inspection Aug. 22.

For now, there’s also a sign at the entrance of the building, which is largely hidden from view from Ky. 245. There won’t be a traffic light at the entrance hanging over the roadway, but there will be a traffic device at the entrance of the station that can be activated by a switch when a fire engine exits or enters the property.