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      Fire hall falling apart

      Not everything that shines on the outside is gold on the inside.

      The basement of the Ishpeming City Fire Hall is covered in water. Groundwater has been leaking into the basement for some time. Electrical wiring is dated, posing a fire hazard, doors don't shut properly and ceilings are deteriorating.

      Fire Chief Ed Anderson says it just keeps getting worse.

      "We're just afraid if, at some point, we didn't say something and bring our concerns forward that there would be a major structural damage done to the floors with these trucks, and the city would be forced into making some decisions that would be very costly," said Anderson.

      It was originally built in 1912, the era of the horse and buggy. Now over a century later, consulting engineers say the building may not be the safest.

      One of the biggest problems they're facing with the building is the structure of the floor. Engineers say it's overly stressed as it can hold up to 100 pounds per square foot, but the fire trucks weigh 200 pounds per square foot. Engineers say that kind of weight could lead to cracking, and worse, caving in.

      The fire hall also has no shower, so firefighters clean up in a sink using a water hose.

      City officials say to repair the hall is too expensive at $4.2 million. The most ideal solution they say would be a new fire hall, costing $3.2 million.

      Jered Ottenwess, Ishpeming City Manager, says there aren't many options to find funding for it.

      "A voted debt millage, which requires the city to go to the voters directly with the question of whether or not tax payers are willing to approve an additional millage or tax property tax in order to fund that debt, that's required for construction," said Ottenwess.

      City officials and firefighters are looking for the public's input on the issue at the city council meeting, July 11.