The old fire station on 170 County St. is being used solely for storage. It is home to a reserve fire engine, a reserve ambulance, a bucket truck that is only used by the Department of Public Works, various other equipment and a few vehicles that are not in use by the department.
The station also has porous roof that lets the rain and snow in. Voters are vbeing asked to fund repairs to the building as part of the Fall Town Hall Warrant on Nov. 21. One of 18 articles asks voters to approve $25,000 for the replacement or repair of the roof, gutters and chimney on the old station.
Fire Chief Alan R. Jack thinks that might be too much to spend on a building the town doesn’t really know what to do with. He said it would be better to spend less and simply have the roof patched so it doesn’t let in the rain and snow.
“If we can patch it for the time being why don’t we do that,” Jack asked. “That would be better in my mind, until we as a community decide where we want to go.”
The town’s Capital Improvements Committee agreed with Jack’s sentiments at last week’s Board of Selectmen meeting, with Chairwoman Lauren Walsh saying the building likely was not worth saving and that $25,000 for a new roof was not a reasonable investment.
Walsh also said the Capital Improvements Committee needs guidance and plans for what to do with the station going forward.
There had been talk that if the town decided to have another full-time fire station in the south end, the County Street station could be reactivated. However, the building's age presents problems for that as well, Jack said.
The station was last in use by call firefighters more than a year ago. It does not have living quarters, which are necessary for a station housing full-time fire fighters. The opening to the vehicle bay in the station is too small for the larger fire trucks, Jack said.