WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Firefighters set to move into a new facility on Shipyard Boulevard will likely have to wait until after the first of the year, as damage from Hurricane Florence will cause delays in the project’s completion.
The new fire station, which will replace Fire Station 5 on Wellington Avenue and Fire Station 6 on Carolina Beach Road, sustained water and mold damage, and half of the drywall that had been installed needed to be ripped out. Emails obtained by WECT indicate the process to remove the the mold and damaged materials began around Oct. 11.
Station 5 also sustained damage during the storm, causing the firefighters and staff to be relocated to Station 6.
Additional emails indicate the original plan was to forego sending staff back to the station after the storm and wait for the new station to open. However, those emails say conditions with so many staff at one station are “cramped,” and Assistant Fire Chief Frank Blackley requested that Station 5 be repaired to allow staff to return to that location, as the new station may not be complete until January.
“Six to seven personnel at this antiquated station is not optimal for city employees,” Blackley said in an Oct. 10 email.
On top of the delays from Hurricane Florence, additional construction issues have cropped up at the new Shipyard station.
Earlier this week, contractors removed the new concrete driveway and began replacing it. City of Wilmington Spokesperson Malissa Talbert said staff determined during a regular inspection that the concrete was not acceptable and did not meet building requirements. Specifically, she said, the finish was not strong enough for the intended purpose. Talbert said the contractor will be responsible for covering the cost of re-pouring the driveway.
The station will be 11,500 square feet when completed, and will house the fire department’s regional HazMat team. Construction was estimated to cost $3.4 million before the storm damage. Talbert said she had no estimate for how much the storm damage would cost.