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Commissioner: We Need a New Fire House

Westhampton Beach Fire Commissioner says the existing firehouse is not up to standards.

The Westhampton Beach Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners has released tentative plans to revamp the district's near 60-year-old building on Sunset Avenue.

According to Commissioner Fred Overton, the district has three sets of plans, designed by the architect firm of H2M, but is not set on any of them.

"We are trying to be impartial and taking information from the public before we do anything," said Overton. "We are also still in the concept stage."

Planning for the new firehouse, said Overton, started a little over two years ago with fire officials agreeing that the current firehouse, which was built in 1953, is no longer up to standards. For example, Overton said the firehouse does not meet the disability act and its truck bays are too small for newer trucks.

"We decided we had to start looking at options," he said.

Fire Chief Chip Bancroft agreed: "I don't like change, but there comes a time when we have to. We are a life-saving organization and you can't put a price on a life. We are kinda at that point." 

The first of the three plans calls for a complete tear-down of the existing firehouse with a new fire facility to be built in its place. The second and third set of plans, he said, include additions to the existing firehouse with small differences in design.

Not any of the plans, he said, have costs associated with them yet.

Overton said the district plans to hold a number of meetings with the public and community groups including Kiwanis and Rotary to obtain feedback before deciding on a final plan. He anticipates that a referendum for a bond to pay for the project won't go to the public until April or May of next year with a construction date of the following year.

What do you think? Should the fire department rebuild or put on an extension? Comment below.

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Irina Richardson August 31, 2012 at 10:55 AM
This is where the federal government comes in: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/fireservice/grants/index.shtm
Jerry Shanley December 16, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Where are the experts in all of this? It seems that the most important element in fire/ rescue is response time. Where is the study outlinining the best strategy for response time given the total fire district area of responsibility? Have satellite locations been considered? Should the rescue boat and a ladder truck be housed on Dune Road?

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