BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Demolition on the Bridgeport Fire Department’s building downtown has begun as of Wednesday morning.

The department is tearing down its current building to make way for a new building to be constructed. The project has been more than four years in the making. A $3.5 million contract was awarded to Fairchance Construction Company for the project back in April.

For the time being, offices have been moved to the department’s substation on Healthcare Blvd near WVU Medicine United Hospital Center. Although the logistics for where firefighters will sleep during the renovation are still being determined, Lieutenant Jacob Thompson said that the services provided by the Bridgeport Fire Department will not be affected by the construction.

“We’re working very hard to make sure that the citizens are covered and the exact same way they were before,” said Lt. Thompson. “I think there’s going to be a lot of leg work on our end, and a lot of leg work for the administration to make sure that that happens, but we ensure the public that we pride ourselves in making sure that when they call, we’re there, we’re there quick, and we’re going to make sure that that continues to happen.”

The idea for the renovation was pitched several years ago but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary plans for the renovation were completed last summer.