From left to right) Fire District President Margie Cook, Lieutenant Matt Shronts, Firefighter Stef Nolen-Ragland, Fire Chief Joe Falaschetti, Firefighter Brian Reyna, Firefighter Jacob Reece, Firefighter Logan Loughlin in front of the newly renovated Beecher fire station. The fire sprinklers will protect the firefighters and equipment.
Orland Park, IL (April 15, 2021) – Last year, the Beecher Fire Protection District received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to fund the installation of a fire sprinkler system, part of a major fire station renovation. Fire Chief Joe Falaschetti, who submitted the grant application, is proud of the new station and its capabilities. He is also relieved that the firefighters and equipment inside the building are protected from fire. This is especially important since it is the only station that serves the entire community and surrounding unincorporated areas of Will County – 54 total square miles
“The renovation was long overdue,” said Falaschetti. “The old station had two small electrical fires in the past three years, prompting a change. It is important to protect those who are ready to respond to calls.”
Built in 1983 as an “unmanned” volunteer station, the 8,500 square foot building was converted to a “paid-on-call” station in 2001. By 2004, the station was staffed 24 hours. The whole renovation project cost $4 million and increased the building to 14,400 square feet. It was a significant savings compared to building a new station at more than $9 million.
Originally, FEMA awarded Beecher $93,109. At the time, Falaschetti said they were working on the renovation plans and that figure had been a rough estimate for the sprinkler system. When the renovation was complete, the final cost for the fire sprinkler system was $127,000. Falaschetti submitted an amendment and was able to receive funds for the balance. Not only was the renovation a savings to the community compared to building a new station, but it also did not result in any tax increases.
Falaschetti also said they have established a new fire prevention bureau. “We are pushing code, inspection, testing, and maintenance compliance,” he said. “As our community grows, we want to see more residential and commercial buildings protected with fire sprinklers. Protecting the fire station and the firefighters who sleep in it is an excellent way to lead by example.”
Nelson Fire Protection installed the dry system.