Sunbelt Rentals Temporary Fire Station Solves Urgent Problem for Town


The ability of local firefighters to respond in minutes to an emergency means everything when lives are at stake. When a local fire station needed a multiphase renovation due to age and outdated features, the question of how to maintain this lifesaving hub for the community quickly came to the forefront of the city leaders’ conversations.

When a fire breaks out in a community, the first line of defense is the local fire department. The community depends on swift response from firefighters to keep their families and assets out of harm’s way.

A fire station serves an important purpose; it and the heroes who work there expedite lifesaving services to the community. Therefore, when the decision was made to replace the old fire station, local officials knew they had to find a way to keep the community safe and secure during the process.

The city hired an architectural design firm that understood the gravity of their task: to plan the design and construction of the new fire house, without compromising the station’s ability to operate in interim. The first item on the list for the firm’s team was to find a vendor who could provide a fully functioning temporary structure to the exacting specifications of a fire station.

The team discovered that Sunbelt Rentals had a long history of successfully mobilizing and deploying fire station projects. Sunbelt Rentals' years of experience in this specialized area, plus their reputation in the industry for being rapid responders, sealed the deal.

The Challenge

The design firm team required a facility to support the work of firefighters and department staff and serve as a base for emergency calls and service. The structure needed to be completed according to a milestone calendar of events, as it was critical to the rest of the project to have the temporary fire house up and running on time.

The structure required bays to accommodate the vehicles and apparatus necessary for the department and interior space to be used as administrative offices. Sunbelt Rentals was also tasked with design-engineering the temporary fabric building to incorporate structural additions to make it stronger. The architectural firm included specifications for higher wind and snow load capacities, based on the temporary structure’s use as a fire station and its expected occupancy level—the structure had to be durable enough to remain on-site until the renovation was complete.

The client needed a solution that could:


One fully-functioning fire station, estimated 6000 sq. ft.

Ventilation fans and heating


Personnel doors


Entrance and exit access
for trucks


Reinforced to accommodate snow load 65 pounds &
139 MPH wind load

A 20-month lease


The Solution

Sunbelt Rentals' experts understand the importance and intricacies involved in temporary fire station design and installation. Having worked on numerous fire station projects, the team recognized the urgent work they were supporting and the strict codes and custom specifications necessary to the project.

blueprint-1Sunbelt Rentals' team of engineers and designers presented a plan based on using the MegaStructure™ as the foundation for a customized solution. The MegaStructure™ is an aluminum box beam structure, which can withstand extreme winds up to 130 mph, combined with a snow load up to 30 lbs. per square foot. This industrial fabric clear span structure is best suited for semi-permanent applications of at least three months and is ideal for industrial projects, quick turnaround events, and applications located in areas with harsh climate conditions.

The computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) drawing outlined the customized arch support columns Sunbelt Rentals' design team proposed to add substantial strength to the MegaStructure™. The plan detailed bolstering the tent at each arch using two custom rafter columns per arch; these and other reinforcement additions would allow the MegaStructure™ to meet the 147 MPH wind loads and 65-pound snow load capacity requirements.

The final design complied with all the structural requirements of the project.

Sunbelt Rentals' solution included the following features:

  • A 6,200 sq. ft. MegaStructure™
  • 18 custom rafters, 2 per intermediate arch, 20-28 ft. high
  • 3 motorized rolled steel garage-style bays
  • 6 custom gable uprights
  • 18 brace bars
  • 9 ridge struts
  • 2 single personnel doors
  • Gable exhaust fans
  • Propane forced air and heat pkg.
  • LED light package
  • 2 extinguishers
  • 2 fire exit lights
  • Expert project managers, designers and installation team

Sunbelt Rentals' installation team arrived on schedule to begin the project. The installation took Sunbelt Rentals 14 days to complete. The team worked on a special schedule, excluding weekends and finished on-time and on budget.

Sunbelt Rentals completed the temporary fabric clear span structure in plenty of time for the next team of subcontractors to begin the process of drywalling the office spaces, which was the crucial next step toward getting the fire station up and running.

The Result

The fire station offices took three months for the construction contractor to complete after Sunbelt Rentals' team finished the overall clear span structure. The temporary station is now fully-operational housing staff, equipment, and vehicles. The city is content and feels secure in the temporary facility’s ability to support the firefighting team as requested.

Additionally, the architectural firm is moving to the next step in its renovation. The team plans to complete all the updates and construction to the fire station on-schedule, as promised.

The MegaStructure™ will remain on-site until the renovation is complete next year.

The Takeaways

Safety and security are top considerations for support and emergency services across the country. That’s why projects such as the temporary fire station are so critical. Clients who have time-sensitive, highly customized projects to complete can’t afford delay. They need a partner who specializes in their industry and has a proven track record of successes. Sunbelt Rentals is that partner.

The next time you have an urgent problem to solve. Call one of our project managers.

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Topics: Temporary Firehouses