Town opens new fire station in North Plymouth – News – Wicked Local Plymouth

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PLYMOUTH – Firefighters marked the long-awaited opening of their new station last week with a short parade in North Plymouth.

PLYMOUTH – Firefighters marked the long-awaited opening of their new station last week with a short parade in North Plymouth.

The 1,000-foot procession last Monday led from one of the oldest fire stations in the state at 0 Spooner St. to a state-of-the-art facility at 15 Hedge Road.

The new three-bay station, completed more than $900,000 under budget, replaces a two-bay relic of the early 1900s that originally housed horse-drawn engines and finally had to be closed for the safety of firefighters.

The new Station 7 can accommodate a ladder truck as well as engines, brushbreakers and an ambulance.

It was designed with firefighter safety in mind, incorporating a plan to keep toxic residue from fires out of the living quarters.

Heavy-duty decontamination washing machines now allow crews to clean their gear in a separate part of the station, where a negative pressure ventilation system keeps the air in the rest of the station clean.

The station also includes individual bunk rooms, instead of a general dormitory, that helps firefighters keep safer distances from one another during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fire Chief Ed Bradley said the station is the first one in town that truly incorporates firefighter safety into the design.

“One of the best parts is its got a warm zone and a cool zone,” Bradley said. “When they come back from a fire and they’re a mess and they’re covered, their equipment can be cleaned separate from the living quarters. They put it in special extractor washing machines, completely separated from where they’re living and eating.”

The old Station 7 closed last fall because of mold problems, but the building also had significant structural problems associated with its age.

Built in the heart of the North Plymouth in 1906, the two-bay station originally had a wooden floor and was tended by a caretaker who lived across the street. The station did not get motorized equipment until the 1920s.

The wooden floor was replaced with concrete in the 1970s , but the concrete was deteriorating and considered unsafe for heavy modern engines. The bays, meanwhile, were barely wide enough to accommodate today’s trucks.

Station 7 firefighters have been working out of headquarters downtown since November, but returned to Spooner Street last Monday for a ceremonial closing of their old station.

Just prior to the morning shift change, firefighters used a chrome fire bell from a 1960s’ engine to ring four rounds of 3-3-1, the number of the old station’s master alarm, to signify the station’s closing.

After marching to the new station, firefighters raised an American flag and performed a ceremonial uncoupling of fires hoses, a fire service tradition similar to a ribbon cutting. Fire Chaplain Gary Blume blessed the new building, fire apparatus and fire crews that will be working out of the station.

The town purchased the 2.25-acre Hedge Road site in 2017 and Town Meeting later approved spending $7.5 million to build the new station.

Bradley had high praise for the architect, general contractor and project manager for the building.

He said the design by Mark Saccoccio of Saccoccio & Associates Architects of Cranston, Rhode Island fit in with surrounding buildings in nearby Cordage Park, but also served as a model for other fire stations around the state. Hanover is using the design for a new substation, he said.

Bradley credited the builder, P&P General Contractors of Charlton, and owner’s project manager, Pomroy Associates of East Bridgewater, with keeping costs down. The project was $906,000 under budget when the station opened, and that included three options the department feared it might not be able to afford – a heated floor in the apparatus bay, epoxy flooring for easier cleaning and a longer life and installation of an above-ground fuel storage next to the building.

Bradley said Assistant Town Manager Marlene McCollem’s expertise in procurement was a great help in keeping costs down.

Firefighters were eager to start working from the station and enjoying its modern amenities, but expressed regret that they would not get to interact with children from Hedge Elementary School like they did on Spooner Street.

Firefighters said they will also miss the many dogs that would stop by on neighborhood walks with their owners, but promised to keep treats on hand for any that detoured over to Hedge Road.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has prevented the department from holding a public ribbon cutting ceremony and open house, the department has prepared a virtual tour of the buildings. It can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/439963445.

Bradley said the fire department still expects to have an official opening of the building and give public tours after the health emergency ends.

 

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