Fire District plans for new station

A new fire station that can support modern needs like housing large apparatus and having room to accommodate volunteer firefighters, on duty 24/7 during emergencies — that’s the plan the Long Hill Fire District is presenting Thursday night.

“The goal here to build a modern, safe and efficient facility that will take firefighters well into the 21st Century,” John Mellardo of the Long Hill Fire District said.

The district is holding an informational meeting this Thursday, May 16, at 7 p.m. to share its plans to build a new fire station on Main Street, near the current Station 2, which will eventually be torn down once the new station is complete. The meeting, for residents of the Long Hill District, will be held at Station 2, 5404 Main St.

Mellardo said planning has been in the works for a while. The district considered renovations for all three of its stations or additions to stations, but Mellardo said the cost of renovation and building additions proved more expensive than building a new facility and tearing down the old one. The district is bonding for the project and the cost is estimated to not exceed $7 million.

The Station 2 building dates back to the early 1930s and the fire department has long outgrown it, Mellardo said. The bay where vehicles are kept wasn’t built to support heavy modern fire apparatus, he said.

“It was built to support the apparatus at the time, and not built to support apparatus of the future — fire trucks then were small lightweight vehicles,” Mellardo said.

The station itself is also small, having one bathroom and little parking space.

“During winter storms and hurricanes we have crews on 24/7 and there are no accommodations for all the firefighters that come," he said.

There are no separate areas for male and female firefighters.

Mellardo said the station doesn’t have room in front for the district’s ladder truck when it pulls out, and it poses a safety issue when the bucket is out in the roadway. The new facility would meet OSHA and National Fire Protection Association standards.

The plan

The district purchased property around Station 2, so the facility can be built set back from Main Street and Wilmot Avenue, which is next to the station.

“We went through a bunch of iterations of the plan,” Mellardo said. “At one point we were looking at three stories, with the ground floor in back and the main floor in front, but now we are looking at two floors.”

The proposed building is 19,000 square feet, while the current station is about 5,000 square feet. Once the first shovel gets in the ground, the building could take about a year to complete. Station 2 would not be razed until the new firehouse is nearly complete and usable.

Mellardo said Thursday night’s meeting is a chance for residents of Long Hill to ask questions and find out more.

“We want everyone to see what they are getting for their money, and we feel it’s a lot,” Mellardo said. “We scaled this thing down to the point where it’s going to be effective for us and not be over costly for the taxpayers.”