Fire chiefs

Mansfield Safety-Service Director Lori Cope, a member of the city's board of control, listens on Monday to proposals from fire Chief Steve Strickling (center) and Assistant Chief Jim Bishop.

MANSFIELD -- A new rescue squad, fire station roof replacements and safer sleeping quarters for firefighters were topics Monday morning for the Mansfield Board of Control.

Mansfield fire Chief Steve Strickling and Assistant Chief Jim Bishop met with the board and laid out proposals for the efforts.

The board unanimously approved $211,365 from the department's capital expense fund for the 2022 Ford E450 Braun Chief XL ambulance.

Strickling said he "wanted to get ahead of the curve" with the purchase since the squad it ordered in October 2020 has still not arrived. CARES Act funds were used for that $244,023 unit, a COVID-19 self-cleaning ambulance/rescue squad.

"As you can see, we are looking anywhere from nine to 18 months out on delivery of rescue squads," the chief said.

The proposal will now go to Mansfield City Council, which meets again on Aug. 3.

Bishop went over proposals to replace aging roofs at Station 1 at 140 E.  Third St. and Station 3 at 705 Sunset Blvd.

The department obtained plans and estimates from The Garland Co., a commercial roofing and building firm in Cleveland. The company inspected the roofs and provided a detailed inspection report on each.

In its proposal, The Garland Co. said it seek bids from local contractors to do the work.

The roof at Station 1 is in three sections, totaling 12,400 square feet and the company offered "good," "better" and "best" options, ranging from 10 to 30 years in terms of roof life expectancy.

"The existing roofing system ... has a number of issues," the company said in its analysis. "The membrane is older and has experienced many leaks. The leaks and membrane will only continue to degrade in condition."

The control board opted to allow the department to seek bids for the "better" option with a preliminary estimated cost of $190,000.

The board opted for the "best" option for Station 3 with an estimated cost of $50,000 for the 4,700-square foot roof.

"It's the only station we have on the south side of the city. It will be around for a long time and we want to make sure it's sound for the next 30 years," Bishop said.

In its analysis of the Station 3 roof, the company said, "The current roofing membrane has far exceeded the life expectancy and is on borrowed time," the company said in its analysis. "Continued costs for repairs will become more frequent and extensive."

The fire department will obtain bids for the construction work and bring them back to the control board and ultimately City Council for approval.

Funds for the project will likely come from the department's building maintenance funds over the next couple of years, though Mayor Tim Theaker said it's possible American Rescue Plan money could be used.

"We still don't know what and how we can spend that money," Theaker said. "We've now gotten three different guidelines from the (U.S.) Treasury Department and we're still waiting for the official, final guideline."

In their final request, fire department leaders obtained approval to spend $19,200 for drawings that could lead to a conversion of the dormitory-style sleeping quarters at Station 1.

The COVID-19 pandemic raised questions about the safety of the "open dorm room" for firefighters. The project would convert the area to 10 individual sleeping rooms while maintaining the existing showers and restrooms.

The department is working with the Mansfield architecture firm of Felty-Heinlen and will be able to seek bids for the project once final drawings are completed.

Strickling said the construction project will likely cost between $150,000 to $200,000.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"