© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Akron officials break ground on a new west side fire station

Akron officials pose for a photo at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new fire station
Anna Huntsman
Ideastream Public Media
A mix of Akron firefighters, elected officials, city staff and construction employees pose for a photo at the groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 12 on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. (From left to right: Ward 2 Councilmember Phil Lombardo, Kenmore Project Manager Kyle Monda, Akron Deputy Service Director Eufrancia Lash, Akron Fire Lt. Mike Brooks, Akron Fire Deputy Chief Richard Vober, Akron Fire Chief Joseph Natko, Ward 4 Councilmember Russ Neal, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Clarence Tucker, Vice President of Council Jeff Fusco, Metis Construction Services President Julie Brandle, Ward 5 Councilmember Tara Mosley, Ward 6 Councilmember Brad McKitrick, Ward 8 Councilmember Shammas Malik, Metis Construction Services Project Manager Edward Domer.)

Akron is getting a new fire station on the city’s west side – the third new station in five years.

Elected officials, city employees and dozens of Akron firefighters attended a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future Fire Station No. 12 at 112 South Hawkins Avenue in the Wallhaven neighborhood Tuesday.

Mayor Dan Horrigan thanked Akron voters for approving Issue 4 in Nov. 2017, which raised income taxes .25% to support police, fire and roads. Since then, Akron has replaced Station 2 in the Middlebury neighborhood and Station 4 near downtown.

“I know there’s a pretty aggressive schedule because of the infrastructure needed, and the things you need to do your job properly,” Horrigan said.

Clarence Tucker speaks about new Akron fire station
Anna Huntsman
Ideastream Public Media
Clarence Tucker, Akron's deputy mayor for public safety, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new fire station as fire chief Joseph Natko (left), Ward 4 Councilman Russ Neal (center) and Mayor Dan Horrigan (right) look on.

The new facility will come with equipment upgrades and more space, he added.

“And a different design too, with more bedrooms, and you know, you can do more staffing, and I think it’s important where you work that you’re showing that support for those people that go out and put their lives on the line every single day," Horrigan said.

The current Station 12 is 72 years old and poses health and safety concerns, said Clarence Tucker, deputy mayor for public safety.

“Now, this is a station that will not add to having carcinogens in the same area where you sleep," Tucker said. "It brings the newest technology, the newest everything that we can bring to this station to help them do the job they need to do."

Currently, the living quarters and bedrooms are right next to the garage where the fire truck and EMS vehicle are stored, causing firefighters to inhale fumes when the trucks are started up, Tucker added. The new facility will have two levels, keeping the bedrooms entirely separate from the garage, he said.

The current building is “literally falling down around our ears,” Akron Fire Chief Joe Natko added.

The new structure will have nine bedrooms and three equipment bays to store at least one fire engine and one medical unit, he said. It will also include equipment decontamination facilities and an air-drying hose tower.

A crew of six firefighters will be stationed there, and with the bigger space, staffing could potentially expand if need be, Natko said.

“Last year, they ran almost 3,000 calls. Three thousand calls is a large number. Some of our surrounding cities see that for their whole city, with two- or three-men units,” he said.

Old Akron fire station no. 12
Anna Huntsman
Ideastream Public Media
Located off of W Market St., Akron Fire Station no. 12, pictured here, is 72 years old and in need of significant upgrades, officials say. The new facility will be located a few blocks away on S. Hawkins Ave.

The new station will be just under 15,000 square feet and cost approximately $9.5 million, according to a press release. Kenmore Construction and Metis Construction Services will collaborate on the project.

Akron operates 13 fire stations across the city. Officials are currently evaluating which fire station is next in line for replacement.

The new Station 12 is expected to open by summer 2024.

Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.