VFD plans helicopter pad

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Farmington-Rich Creek Volunteer Fire Department has plans to build a paved helicopter pad next to its fire hall on Wade Brown Road, the fire chief said Wednesday.

"Doug Orr and his brother, Joe Orr of Tullahoma, are donating the land to the fire department," Fire Chief Robert Hale said. "Their daddy, Bill Orr, was the one who donated the land for the fire hall itself."

Plans for the landing pad grew from conversation over dinner last month, Hale said.

"We were having our community dinner on Nov. 14 when I was talking to Doug Orr about bush hogging the area so the helicopter can land for the annual dinner and he said 'I wouldn't mind if you just poured a pad,' and then we brought it up in one of our community meetings," Hale explained.

The fire department's steering committee agreed to support it, he continued, "so we'll be starting on it pretty soon. We're going to be asking some of the lumberyards if they could donate some wood for a framer and maybe the Co-op could donate some fencing. We need to move the fence that's already there."

The land is on the east side of the fire hall, between it and the Nashville Highway. The helicopter pad is to be made of concrete and it will be lighted.

"We've got Duck River Electric Membership Corp. putting up the big red plastic balls on the power lines" to warn pilots, Hale said. Electricity to the pad will be underground from the fire hall and "there will be a switch so the lights can be turned on if we can't be there."

"Air-Evac is donating our wind sock," Hale said of the helicopter ambulance service that's located at Ellington Airport on the east side of Franklin Road.

Firefighters have obtained a cost estimate for the concrete and the department's steering committee has allocated money for the project, but volunteers are asking area residents and businesses if they could donate toward the cause.

The landing pad might be approximately 20-feet by 20-feet and the cleared area set aside for the pad is estimated at somewhat less than half an acre.

"We plan to pour concrete this spring when it warms up," the chief said. "Until then, we'll be working on the fence and clearing the land.