The Colerain Volunteer Fire Department will be working out of a new firehouse by March, as recent groundbreaking ceremonies marked the start of construction on its new home.
The new structure will be located behind the Colerain Social Hall, formerly Hilltop School, on U.S. 250.
Colerain Fire Chief Greg Probst said the new, metal sided building will be 60 x 64 feet and will have four bays. It will be 16 feet high with two stories in the rear.
According to Probst, "There will be plenty of room for the trucks and the guys. It will also allow use to put all our equipment on the trucks - and we will be able to keep the deck gun attached to the truck, which we can't do now.
"We also won't have to take a squad out first to allow an engine to get out, and in adverse weather we won't have to worry about the ramp," he added.
Assistant Fire Chief Ty Wilson said the current firehouse will be sold as part of the financial package. It was built by members of the department in the 1940s. The men of the department, at that time, "held fundraisers and did a lot of things to make a buck" to construct it, he said.
"Over the years we just outgrew it. It was ideal at the time. It was just perfect, but now the size of equipment has just kept getting bigger," he said. "The new building will be a lot easier for the guys. We won't have to juggle the trucks we need to send out. It will just be a lot better. It will be real nice."
Probst said the new building will cost "about $350,000 with everything the department wants to do with it, but it's pretty much there. We definitely took our time to get everything so we could afford it."
H&H Construction of Loudenville, Ohio, is the general contractor. However, Probst noted local subcontractors will be used as much as possible.
Wilson noted the financial package was completed just in time for the groundbreaking.
"We have been planning this for a long time, and we just got the financial go-ahead from the bank," he said. "We bought the old school in 2007 and have been using it as a social hall and our offices.
"The community gets a lot of use of the (old school) building, too. We sold the gas rights on that property, which is what made us able to make this happen. That was a big part of it," Wilson added.
Other funding is coming from the sale of property, purchased in the 1960s, to Dollar General for its new store.
That property was originally thought to be a good site for a new firehouse, but Probst said rock in the area made construction there too costly.