A northside Lafayette fire station officially reopened Thursday after being closed for 14 months to repair structural problems that emerged after the $1.2 million facility initially opened its doors in 2010.
“We’ve had some difficulties with this particular station, but we’ve got that behind us,” said Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit.
The new fire station replaced the original 1960s-vintage station No. 4 on West Alexander Street near its intersection with Moss Street. The old building was demolished, and the new station was built on the same site, opening in 2010.
Problems surfaced almost immediately.
Several big leaks resulted in substantial water damage in the building, and gaps developed around the windows, a sign of other structural problems, according to a lawsuit filed against the contractor that prompted the company to pay $200,000 for building repairs.
While the structural issues were becoming obvious, lightning struck electrical equipment used to transfer the station to a backup generator in the event of a power outage.
The crew at station No. 4 moved out in June 2014 and have been in temporary quarters at station No. 9 about 2 miles away.
Benoit said response times were only a minute longer for the area served by station No. 4 while the crew was displaced, as measured over 900 service calls the crew made while operating temporarily out of the other station.
“Although response time never lapsed, it’s good to know we are back,” said City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, who represents the area.