WILLIAMSTOWN -- Safety, response time and equipment storage were some of the themes Williamstown Fire District officials touched upon as they made a case for a new fire station during a public forum Thursday night.
Fire Chief Craig Pedercini said the existing 4,325 square-foot station at 34 Water St. has become inadequate to meet the needs of the district.
"The apparatus bay is 2,422 square feet. We have three bays, two overhead doors and four trucks that equal approximately 1,320 square feet. The remaining 1,102 square feet is occupied by hose racks, equipment, an air compressor, turnout gear and an exhaust system for the trucks," he said.
The quarters are so tight that firefighters put on their turnout gear within inches of the trucks, and the doors to the trucks can't be fully opened in the station, he said.
The fire station was built in 1951.
Pedercini presented the deficiencies, as well as others included in a feasibility study done by the Maguire Group Inc. in 2009, during the forum sponsored by the Finance Committee.
District officials also spoke about their plans to purchase property, which was owned by the late Kurt Lehovec, at 562-580 Main St. Notsley said the four houses on the 3.78-acre site are assessed at $280,000, and the district is anticipating no more than $700,000 would be needed to purchase the property and perform some site planning.
Following the presentation, residents attending
Notsley said the Maguire Group has recommended a new station be about 20,000 square feet to meet the district's needs and that it be built on at least two acres. He then assured the audience that the cost of building a new station wasn't likely to exceed $9 million.
Elaine Neely, a resident of South Williamstown, which is outside the town's fire hydrant system, asked if the reason the fire district didn't have a tanker truck in its fleet was because of the lack of space it had to keep one in the existing station. Notsley confirmed her statement.
With the town also in need of a new police station, resident Andrew Hogeland asked about the possibility of having a combined public safety building. The suggestion was quickly dismissed by both Notsley and Finance Committee Chairman Charles Fox.
"If two entities want to do something together, they certainly can," Hogeland said.
Fox later asked if the fire district had considered the Photech property on Cole Avenue for a new station. Notsley said he was concerned about having it in a congested area where there are a lot of children, and a school and youth center nearby.
"We feel the Lehovec property is the best site," he said.