In case of a major disaster, the new city's new $3.4 million Fire Station No. 6 in Paradise Valley will have the ability to operate without outside power or resources for a week, as well as doing what the current station cannot do now, Chief Kenneth King said Monday.

King, firefighters, city officials and representatives from certain businesses participated in the ground-breaking for the new 12,000-square-foot fire station. The current one is wearing out and not capable of handling the demands of new equipment.

"It will have a total generation system to be able to be self-sufficient for seven days," King said.

The new station at Iris Street and Valley Drive will have sleeping quarters for six instead of four at the current station across the street on Valley Drive, he said.

It also will have six bays for fire and other apparatus, King said.

It also will have two access points; one on Iris Street and another on Valley Drive. Fire crews will use the Valley Drive access to leave the station quickly. The Iris Street access will allow crews to enter the station and use the station driveway to back into bays.

And ironically, it will have an automatic sprinkler system, King said. "We can hardly tell anyone building new construction to have one, but not us."

The number of firefighters on site 24/7 and the amount of equipment will remain the same, but the extra bays could be used for an ambulance for the Wyoming Medical Center, or for a place for a Casper Police Department car, he said.

The station, which specializes in hazardous materials incidents, has a larger area it covers -- from the west to Fremont Street to the east -- than any other station. That, regrettably, requires a longer response time than the demands placed on other stations, King said.

The city does not know yet what it will do with the old station, which is across the street of the new one, King said.

Casper City Council awarded the $3.445,000 project to Caspar Building Systems, Inc., with GSG Architecture contracted for design and oversight of the project. This project is being funded by Optional One Cent Funds.

The construction site will be fenced to control access.

The bus stop located on Valley Drive near the site will remain open, as will the sidewalk.

Dirt work is expected to be complete before the Paradise Valley Pool opens for the season.

The city anticipates Fire Station No. 6 to be completed by April 2017.