Department Still Trying to Get Fire Station Rebuilt After Tornado

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MINERAL CITY, Ohio-- More than three months after a devastating tornado destroyed the volunteer fire department in Mineral City, the trucks have been replaced, but the property remains nothing more than an open parking lot.

Fire Chief Sam Moore said he was told by their insurance company that he could expect a new building before winter.

But with the first cold blasts of the season putting an ominous chill in the air there is still no permanent shelter for the trucks or their equipment.

"A nightmare. It's been a long, drawn-out, frustrating experience," said Moore's wife, Nikki, also a volunteer firefighter.

As the financial officer, Nikki Moore has been doing much of the negotiating with the department's Toledo-based insurance company trying to get a new fire station.

"The original building was 8,100 sq ft and it was a very small, tight building, but we did what we needed to do out of that building," explained Moore.

"With the new building, we were asking for around a little over 9,000 sq ft, which would accommodate the ADA compliance and other state and federal code updates, plus a little extra breathing room in our truck bays so they werent sardined in," she added.

"We have good insurance. The company has been a good company. But every item, every issue that we come about seems to be a frustrating experience," said Moore.

In the meantime, the volunteers have to work around obstacles that they say have nearly doubled their response time.

"We had like a three to five minute response time and now it's a five to eight minute response time, which is a life and death situation if you have somebody trapped in a house that's on fire or an accident where they are entrapped in their car; that's a life or death situation," said Nikki Moore.

"If we get a house fire, you know, and there's somebody trapped in it, we have to wait for the trucks to warm up before we can go down the road because of the frost and everything," said her husband.

EMTs with the department said the ambulances are also diesel so they have to wait for them to warm up before they can go on a run.

"If it's really cold and the middle of the night it can take a good three minutes to warm up; being diesel the engines got to warm up so you can defrost the windows," said EMT, Spencer Lindsay.

"And it's really frustrating because you come down, you are hoping to get right in your squad and go and it takes time," said EMS Chief Debbie Wine.

FOX 8 News attempted to make contact with representatives of the Toledo-based insurance company on Friday without success.

The fire department hopes to have a pole barn in a couple of weeks that will at least give them some shelter from the elements, but they still really have no idea how soon the insurance issues will be settled.

And it could be a long winter.

"Our hope is that it can be resolved in the next several weeks, but again, if it is resolved in the next several weeks, it's still going to take six weeks before the building process can start and you are into December and January," said Nikki Moore.

In the meantime, the firefighters and EMTs are no less determined to do what they can in an emergency.

"Whenever the tones go off, we're going to respond as quick as we can and get there as quick as we can," said Wine, adding, "We're not stopping. We're going to keep on moving in spite of what's going on."

(Read more stories on the damaged fire department.)

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