Construction begins on a new Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department building
HAMILTON, Miss. (WCBI) – Construction begins on a new Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department building.
The original structure was destroyed in the April 2019 tornado that devastated the entire Hamilton community.
Crew members tell WCBI they were out before sunrise Tuesday morning pouring the concrete that will soon be the foundation for a new VFD headquarters.
Fire Chief Raymond Oliver said the entire re-building process has been bittersweet.
For almost a year and a half, the Hamilton Fire Department has operated without a building.
To make due, firefighters have been parking their trucks in an old mechanic shop donated by a generous Hamilton resident.
Fire Chief Raymond Oliver said getting the funding for a new building hasn’t been easy.
“Lots and lots of paperwork, and that’s one of the reason it’s taken us a while to get back. It’s been about a year and four months since this tornado hit,” said Oliver.
Oliver has been with the department since the early 80s.
The original building is all he knows. He said it was an important part of the community.
“That building was built by a lot of guys here in the community, and most of them have done passed and gone on, but there’s still one or two still around that helped with the building,” said Oliver.
The new concrete slab marks the beginning of a new chapter for volunteers with the department.
“A lot of younger guys are coming in now to kind of take over our legacy or what you call old school and the technology. So, a lot of the guys are coming in to do that, and you know, we’ve got some good trucks and good guys, and I’m proud of our fire department, I really am,” said Oliver.
The new facility will be an 80 by 80 structure with a few more amenities than the original.
“We’ve got to you know a training room and our bathroom, our kitchen, and we’ll have a little office and a storage room in it, kind of like the old building had, but bigger of course,” said Oliver.
Oliver said it took a while to get to this point, but the finished product is just a few weeks away.
“I’m hoping by 30 days from now that I’ve got a red and white building standing up,” said Oliver.
Over half of the funding for the new structure came from FEMA, with insurance and donations from the community making up the rest.