2016-12-21 / Front Page

Insurance could cover higher costs of new Great Cacapon fire hall

by Kate Shunney

Five months after a fire destroyed the Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Company, Morgan County Commissioners sought assurances that the cost of building a new fire hall would be covered under the county’s insurance policy.

County officials talked with Steve Rawlings, Director of Operations of the West Virginia Counties Risk Pool during a conference call on Thursday, December 15 to clear up questions regarding their policy.

Commissioner Bob Ford questioned Rawlings about how much money the Risk Pool would provide to rebuild the 4,150-square foot fire hall. He said the appraisal value determine by the Risk Pool -- $510,000 – wasn’t likely to cover the costs of an architect, engineer and construction of a new building.

Building codes would require a sprinkler system and other features the old two-story building didn’t have, like an elevator.

Rawlings said any feature required by building code would be covered by the insurance policy.

“If you have to add a sprinkler system at $20,000 that’s required by code, I’d have to pay you for that,” he said.

Ford said the county was considering a single-story fire hall to eliminate the need for an elevator. He asked Rawlings if the county had to build the same kind of structure the fire company had before the fire. Rawlings said no – the cost of a single story building of the same square footage as the old hall would be covered by the policy.

Ford said the Morgan County Board of Education has agreed to give the county a small amount of land from their RESA 8 Headstart site next door in order to build a hall with a bigger “footprint.”

Rawlings reassured county officials that all legitimate costs for restoring a fire hall in Great Cacapon would be paid out of the Risk Pool policy, including architectural and engineering fees, demolition of the old building and construction.

“If you decide to build something with more in it, you would pay a proportion of architectural and engineering fees,” Rawling said.

Commission President Brad Close said he wanted to be sure they all understood.

“The replacement cost means exactly that – the Risk Pool will pay to put back what we had,” said Close.

Rawlings said that was the case.

Close urged county officials to keep communicating with Rawlings as the plans for a new fire hall move ahead.

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