Union contractors donate materials, equipment
By MARY ANN O’TOOLE HOLLEY
Bricklayers’ Local 1 apprentices recently gave their time for a community outreach project at the St. Louis Fire Department, replacing damaged block walls on multiple floors of the training tower.
The eight-story training tower, designed to mimic more common firefighting scenarios, was aging. After years of being repeatedly damaged by fire and high-pressured water during training exercises, it was in serious need of being removed and rebuilt.
Over several weeks, Local 1 apprentices demolished and removed the existing exterior block walls, did all of the layout work, toothed-out and replaced a portion of the interior chute walls, replaced the structural rebar and rebuilt the exterior block walls, and grouted the newly rebuilt exterior and chute walls. The apprentices work now makes these walls stronger and more heat-resistant than before. They also rebuilt a few of the concrete column wraps to protect the structural concrete columns holding up the tower from getting damaged by fire.
Materials and equipment to complete the project were donated by Robert Kelly of Bricklayers’ Local 1; signatory contractor Heitkamp Masonry, which donated use of an electric hoist and scaffold to support the hoist; Mark Wilhelms of Midwest Block & Brick who donated blocks; and Craig Kasten of Spec Mix who donated mortar and grout to lay the blocks.
“I am proud of our apprentices for jumping in when help is needed,” said Bricklayers Local 1 Business Manager Brian Jennewein. “But charity work is part of our training. Through our Apprentice Program, we are not just building strong bricklayers, we’re trying to instill the feelings of comradery and community service.”