Construction Picks up at Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Dept. as - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Construction Picks up at Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Dept. as Weather Warms

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Construction at Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department Construction at Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department

An Albemarle County fire department's $3 million renovation and expansion is taking shape now that the weather's cooperating with construction crews.

The snow and cold slowed construction – but now crews are making progress on the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department. The frame is up on the firehouse expansion, which will give the volunteer department its first major makeover in more than 30 years.

The daylight crew at Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department shifts and shuffles inside "the shoe box."

“The career and volunteer often work together here, so it can be really cramped,” said Capt. Michael Pitt of the Albemarle County Fire Department.

The tight quarters squeezes in upward of 12 firefighters and rescue crew members.

“I would say, comfortably, maybe it's suited for four,” said Pitt.

A tent protects engine trucks from the elements. Firefighters aren't so lucky when they have to rush uphill to retrieve the ladder truck parked in a construction zone.

“That can be difficult and put a lot of strain on people - particularly in the winter,” said Pitt.

The “box” is Seminole Trail's temporary home while construction crews renovate and expand the station.

“We outgrew this station a long time ago. We couldn't even keep all our apparatus in one building,” said Chief Dan Tawney of the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department.

Tawney leads Albemarle County's busiest volunteer fire department.

The expansion will add two bays for a total of five. Five bunk rooms will provide sleeping quarters.

“The volunteers work all day and then they come here to volunteer at night. For us to be able to make it more comfortable for them, I think is really important,” said Tawney.

The expanded station will also include a community room and a student room, since many of Seminole Trail’s 70 members are students at the University of Virginia.

“One of the largest rooms in here is actually the study room for the students,” said Tawney.

The crew is anxious to make the move back up the hill for good.

“I think we're able to put up more with the stresses and difficulties here because we know we have the new station coming,” said Pitt.

The department hopes the added space will fill up with new volunteers. The chief would like to double the department's numbers.

Construction should finish by September.

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