Slingerlands firehouse ready to grow

Existing space too small, too old, say officials

A leaky roof, cramped vehicle bays and lack of storage space are among reasons the Slingerlands Fire Department Board of Commissioners are in the early stages of planning an expansion to the New Scotland Road station.

A feasibility study ordered by the board has been returned with a number of ideas for what an expansion should look like, said Chairman Walter Eck.

We need to digest that and say what exactly it is we're going to go forward with, he said. "As soon as we get ourselves straight, that's when we'll be putting information out to the public."

Station 1, located at 1520 New Scotland Road, was built in 1966 and expanded on in 2001. Since then, Eck said, problems with a leaky roof have persisted in the older portion of the building, and the scale of firefighting operations has grown.

Increasing membership means there isn't enough storage space for the department's gear, and it must be stored in the open. The department has approximately 45 active volunteer firefighters.

"We don't have a lot of room actually behind the apparatus or around the apparatus for personnel," Eck said. "It is very tight in the rear of the engines and the wall space."

That makes mounting the fire engines difficult when the department is responding to calls, and limits what kind of training department members are able to do indoors. The latest vehicle the department purchased is so large it will only fit in one of the existing bays, and the thinking is that more modern equipment will be increasing in size.

"There's no doubt that the apparatus doesn't get any smaller," Eck said.

A scope of feasibility report presented to the Board of Commissioners March 9 outlines an expansion with an equipment room, expanded vehicle bays, a day room for on-call EMTs and for training and male and female showers. A ventilation system would also be added to the vehicle bays; right now, there is no venting of diesel fumes when the department's vehicles are started up.

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