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Atmore buildings receive facelifts

By By Janet Little Cooper
Renovations are finally underway on the south side fire station located on Pensacola Avenue and the Red Cross Complex located next to City Hall.
It has been almost two years since the facilities sustained damage due to Hurricane Ivan and has been one year since the damaged properties were finished off from the wind and rain of Dennis.
According to Atmore Mayor Howard Shell the winning bidder for the job was Hines Construction out of Brewton.
"They started the process Tuesday," Shell said. "The work on the fire station is so extensive that the time of completion will depend on the number of problems encountered during the renovation. The contractors will have to abide by the new International building code that the city has adopted since Hurricane Ivan hit. Due to that there will be certain things that will have to be addressed differently."
The entire station is being gutted before the contractor starts the renovation process. Extensive roof damage caused water damage to the walls and floors leaving the building inhabitable.
"We have been fortunate thus far," Atmore Fire and Rescue Chief Gerry McGhee said. " We usually just kept one fireman around the clock at the south side station and the rest at the main station. But we have not had any major episodes on that side of town since the station was damaged. The main concern and reason for the station is due to the railroad tracks. If a major fire were to break out on the south side of town and a train was blocking the intersections, we would not be able to get to it in time."
The Red Cross building received similar damages from Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis as well.
"There are three operations in that particular building. Nancy's, the Red Cross and Atmore Christian Care Ministry all operate out of it," Shell said. "Like the fire station, I am unsure of an expected date of completion. The contractor is working with the occupants to coordinate the renovations with their schedules. They will all probably have to close for a couple of days at some point in the process."
After waiting almost two years for the repairs, Shell, McGhee and the other occupants will be glad to see the facilities back up and running in pre-hurricane condition soon.