A tale of two new Fire Stations – one about to open, the other still delayed

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Burien’s brand new Fire Station sits empty due to construction problems. Photo by Scott Schaefer.

by Ralph Nichols

A tale of two fire stations is playing out in Burien and Normandy Park.

One new station serving King County Fire District No. 2 is expected to become operational today (Monday, Nov. 4).

The other is still unoccupied more than a year after completion and legal action appears increasingly likely.

“We’re in the process of moving into Station 29” at 135 S. Normandy Rd. just off 1st Ave. S. east of the Manhattan Village QFC, Chief Mike Marrs said late last week. “We hope to cut over and start running out of it Monday.”

Work on Station 29 was completed “within budget” and almost on time by Neeley Construction of Puyallup, “and everything checked out with no problems,” Marrs added.

Burien Fire Chief Mike Marrs.

It’s a different story at Station 2 – the new headquarters building for Fire District No. 2 at 900 SW 146th St. near downtown Burien.

“We still haven’t moved in,” Marrs told The B-Town Blog. “We’re still in conflict with the contractor over repairs” that need to be made before this station can become operational.

Completion of construction and occupancy were anticipated for midsummer 2012, but it sits idle due to several structural problems resulting from work done by the general contractor, Bayley Construction of Mercer Island.

Fire District No. 2 officials “don’t believe the contractor has been fully responsive as required by the contract,” he continued. They are “developing options to rectify their differences with the contractor.”

Asked if that could include legal action, Marrs replied, “yes.”

Currently there are ongoing discussions between the fire district’s attorney, Bayley’s attorney, and the attorney for Mesa Precast, which also did some work that district officials have rejected.

The delay is frustrating for the firefighters and medics who are ready to move from their outdated and undersized facility at the corner of SW 151st St. and 8th Ave. S, Marrs said earlier this year. “We’re eager to move in.”

Major problems include the five large doors to the fire engine bays (pictured, left), the station roof, and exposed rebar in precast components of the building.

Voters in Fire District No. 2 approved in November 2008 a $25 million bond issue for construction of both the new headquarters fire station in Burien and replacement of Station 29.

Phase Two of the Station 29 project will begin Nov. 11 with demolition of the old building, construction of a parking lot and a retention pond, and completion of landscaping.

Marrs said a ribbon cutting for new Station 29 will be held after completion of Phase Two when ample parking will be available.

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