Parish President Natalie Robottom joined Council members Jaclyn Hotard and Lucien Gauff, Chief of Operations Cain Dufrene, Chief John Snyder and representatives of Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects and Aegis Construction, Inc. to break ground fo
St. John Breaks Ground for New Fire Station #51
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH - Parish President Natalie Robottom joined Council members Jaclyn Hotard and Lucien Gauff, Chief of Operations Cain Dufrene, Chief John Snyder and representatives of Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects and Aegis Construction, Inc. to break ground for a new LaPlace fire station. The groundbreaking ceremony for the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Station #51 (Hemlock) was held on Friday, July 31 at 10:00 a.m. at 521 Hemlock St. Numerous local firefighters, residents and business owners were also on hand for the celebration.
“Today we commemorate the groundbreaking for a much-needed facility and one that is designed to meet the growing needs of the Fire Department,” said Cain Dufrene, Chief of Operations for the St. John Office of Fire Services. “With this new station we have room for improvements, room to expand and a place where our firefighters and volunteers can be housed safely.” “This would not be possible without the leaders, chiefs and fire personnel before us that built the departments and laid the groundwork for firefighting in St. John,” he added.
LaPlace Volunteer Fire Station #51 sustained damage during Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and again during Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Since then, it has been out of service with the station temporarily operating across the street. “Even more important than the damages to the station, Hurricane Isaac revealed that the Hemlock Station is the only LaPlace Fire Station that is not in a flood zone, thus making new construction critical to the safety of our fire fighters and our residents,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom. “The safety of our residents remains a top priority and building this new station provides sufficient space for firefighters to sleep and train 24/7.”
The $2.9 million construction project will be funded through sales tax and revenue bonds through the Office of Fire Services. Designed by Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects Regional Design Group, LLC, the new facility will include a garage, mechanical shop, fitness center and sleeping quarters and will be rebuilt at the station’s original location. “It took much communication and cooperation to design this building, and we look forward to opening and celebrating this new facility,” said Tommy Brown with Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects. Contracted through Aegis Construction of LaPlace, construction is estimated to take about fifteen months. Kent Liliedahl, owner of Aegis Construction, said “any work we do in St. John the Baptist Parish is near and dear to our hearts. We plan to do our very best on this project and be good neighbors during construction.”
Originally built in 1962, the Hemlock station was the first fire station in St. John the Baptist Parish equipped with a 2 bay garage, kitchen and meeting hall. The facility had to be rebuilt in 1966 following its destruction by Hurricane Betsy. This historic building is again being resurrected after aging and sustaining damage from Hurricane Isaac in 2012. “This project will modernize our response. The Hemlock Fire Station has always been a fixture in the community and we hope to stay this way. We look forward to another sixty years of serving the residents of St. John the Baptist Parish,” said John Snyder, Fire Chief for the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department.
As a representative for the area, Councilmember-at-Large Jaclyn Hotard said, “The Hemlock Fire Station has been a fixture in St. John for over fifty years, and I look forward to seeing this project completed. Fire protection remains a priority and this will greatly advance our ability to protect our residents.” Marvin Perrilloux, District 4 Councilmember said, “The fire station is a great project for St. John Parish and for District 4, but most of all it's a great place to secure our ERT staff because that's what counts.”