Belle Chasse Central Fire Station
Belle Chasse, Louisiana
Challenge: To design a new central station located within 300 yards of the Mississippi River that would not only survive a catastrophic weather event (think hurricane) but remain operational during that event. Belle Chasse is in the northernmost section of Plaquemines Parish, located south of New Orleans. The parish is a very narrow peninsula that extends into the Gulf of Mexico, with a total length of over 80 miles. This Parish has been in the middle of many hurricanes over the years, with Katrina and Isaac being the most recent. It was imperative that the Belle Chasse Station be able to remain open during such emergencies.
Solution: To begin working on the solution, KAS began a study of FEMA Report 549, written in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This report carefully details the type of structures that survived the storm. Using that knowledge, along with information from the Army Corp of Engineers and local public safety officials that had been through the storms, a plan took shape. Since advantageous building sites are in short supply in Belle Chasse, it was decided to tear down the old central station and build on the same site. The site was raised an additional five feet to insure that it would not flood, based on past experience. The roof is made of poured concrete, with all mechanical equipment located in the interior for protection. In several areas, there are redundant walls with hurricane rated windows. The bi-fold engine bay doors are rated to withstand 145 mph wind loads. The generator is located on the second floor and vented to the outside.