Friday, March 23, 2012

Fire Department ceiling falls in

Officials: Ketchum City Hall is deteriorating

Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum Fire Department required attention on its home turf after a ceiling collapsed sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.

No one was injured in the mishap, according to Fire Chief Mike Elle, and no vehicles were damaged despite falling debris.

"It once again shows this building no longer meets our needs," Elle said.

The department's engine bay, in the back section of City Hall, experienced a water leak in the roof.

"We have a lot of issues here," Elle said. "One of the issues is the roof is falling apart and leaking."

The fire department shoveled snow off the roof Monday to stop further leaks from snowmelt.

"We'll be getting a new roof on the building," Elle said. "... and keep our fingers crossed that nothing else fails."


The circa-1970 building, which originally was a car dealership, is showing its age.

City officials have long wanted a new City Hall, perhaps combined with a new public safety facility.

"We put an incredible amount of money to keep this building going," Elle said.

Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall said insurance will cover the incident, but he predicted that other deterioration in the building would occur over time.

"This is not going to continue to be cost effective," he said.

Tight budgets and a poor economy have made a pitch for a new building a difficult sell.

"Until the economy improves it's jut not going to happen," Elle said.

Rebecca Meany:

Grant allows for new gear

Firefighters in Ketchum, Sun Valley and Wood River Fire & Rescue will get 78 new sets of turnout gear, thanks to a federal grant. The funds will help bring the three agencies up to a National Fire Protection Association standard for personal protective equipment, said Ketchum Fire Chief Mike Elle. Once departments go through a sizing and fitting process, each firefighter likely will get one new set of turnouts—their primary response gear—to replace aged and worn-out gear.

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