Sunday storms leave Old East Dallas fire station heavily damaged

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The city of Dallas may need to find money in the budget to build a new fire station after Sunday's storm caused its roof to cave in.

Dallas Fire Station 19 on East Grand Avenues has been vacant for the past three months. Images show just how bad the damage was with metal poles that caved in. Fortunately, the fire station was receiving repairs at the time so the firefighters and equipment were at different stations.

Jim McDade, president of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, says the city needs to replace the aging station.

"Very fortunate they weren't there. They just got a $1 million firetruck, and we got a new vehicle that's parked there," he said. "Both would have been there could have destroyed them along with damage to the station."

Rain from Sunday's storm caused the already leaky roof at Fire Station 19 to finally give way. It happened while the station was already closed for repairs for other issues.

"They've been having issues for years with the roof and the roof leaking," McDade said. "It probably had become weak over the years with all the water."

McDade says firefighters have also had a lot of other issues with the aging station.

"Station 19 is 50 to 60 years old, having constant plumbing problems, HVAC's, a leaky roof and foundation problems," he said. "Fire stations are lived in by eight to ten guys 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It gets a lot of wear and tear."

The city is now considering whether to just replace the roof or find the money to build a new station in its place.

"From reports I've gotten from guys there, it is a no brainer that they need to rebuild the station," McDade said. "We can spend a whole bunch of money and fix a roof and put a big band-aid on it or build a new station."

Douglas Eckert is the owner of Hollywood Floral across the street from the station. He says, fortunately, the situation didn't hurt response times for him.

"When the tree fell in the back and took out the electricity, we called 911 because there was live wire," Eckert said. "They came very quickly in 3-4 minutes and roped off the area for safety."

McDade hopes the city will be able to find the funds so that firefighters can live in better conditions.

"Being in a station in good condition where you can get the rest you need, you're going to be able to perform your job better," he said.

McDade says the city is planning to have engineers assess the structural soundness of the building. At this point, it's unclear what funds the city would use to build a new station that firefighters have been requesting.