The City of Chicago announced today that the new state of the art firehouse designated as Engine Company 115 is open for immediate operations. Located at 1024 West 119th street, this structure is the largest firehouse ever constructed in the city proper at 27,000 square feet. Engine company 115 will house 2 Engines, 1 Tower Ladder, 2 Advanced Life Support Ambulances, an OEMC communications monopole, an EMS Field Chief and a Deputy District Chief. This project represents a $30 million investment in the West Pullman community, and is a prime example of how municipal projects can accomplish a two-fold goal of providing much needed jobs and economic vitality to a community, while simultaneously improving its safety and security with the end results.
“This project, which leverages an investment of $30 million, has been an incredible economic driver during its construction and will significantly enhance CFD’s ability to protect our residents in West Pullman and the surrounding area,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “In addition to increasing the safety and security of far South Side residents and our entire city, this state-of-the-art facility will also give our first responders the resources they need to respond rapidly to an emergency and recharge afterward.”
The firehouse was designed by the Public Building Commission in consultation with the Chicago Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. The equity focused construction process placed a special emphasis on employing people of color and women throughout the development process, and altogether created 72 construction jobs, with 30% of the contractors who assisted in the project being from minority owned businesses.
Fire Commissioner Richard C Ford II who retires from the department in a few short days said, “This much needed firehouse will increase the safety and security our neighborhoods on the far Southside with its location, apparatus compliment, and ability to enhance public safety communications while providing members with a local training center to enhance their life saving skills and education.”
“Throughout its construction, this project served as an important economic booster to the 34th Ward and West Pullman community.” Said 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin. “Now that Engine Company 115 is completed, this firehouse will serve as an important resource for keeping our vibrant community safe.”
“As the public developer who was responsible for the planning, design and construction of this facility, the Public Building Commission of Chicago took great pride in constructing this modernly designed space that embodies the ‘spirit of service’ of each man and woman who serves as a firefighter or first responder,” said Carina E. Sanchez, PBC’s Executive Director. “Everything from the four-bay apparatus room with hose drying tower and OEMC communication monopole, to the four station watch tower and communication hub, we wanted to provide these modern-day heroes with the necessary facility to fulfill their mission.”
The firehouse has many unique systems designed to enhance safety as well as improve operational efficiency including; • Exhaust removal for each apparatus on the floor. • Door position sensors to operate internal signals to let drivers know when safe to enter or exit to prevent door involved accidents and not allow a door to close while a vehicle is on the threshold. • Strobe lights will actuate outside the firehose to warn traffic on 119th as apparatus leave the firehouse on emergency runs and thereby improve response times. • Motion sensors to turn off lights in areas not occupied. • Use of windows placement to allow natural lighting with issues of direct sunlight. • Two retention ponds to control water runoff and control loading of the city sewer system. • ADA Compliant Privacy Room acoustically isolated from the rest of the house. • A self-contained back-up power generation.
This new firehouse is strategically located to allow for rapid response to both I-94 and I-57 interstate highways as needed, while serving its primary function of providing enhanced coverage of the far Southside, which has not seen a new multi-apparatus firehouse in decades. Engine Company 115 also has a radio communications tower that will enhance data and voice communications, greatly reducing dead spots that have been reported in the past.