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Westmere makes case for new firehouse

Fire official says building from ground up is cheaper than updating facility

On Thursday, Feb. 25, the Westmere Fire District held apublic information session on its proposed new firehouse, where representatives from the department, and CT Male Engineers discussed the need, costs of, and construction process for the new building.

The meeting began with Westmere Fire Commissioner John Keimer describing the process that led to the decision to build the new firehouse. He said in 2005 the district formed a building committee that was tasked with making a list of what was needed in the current firehouse.

Rank on top, by far, was this building being too close to Route 20, said Keimer.

He said some other concerns were the small size of bay doors for the fire trucks, asbestos abatement, and inadequate bathrooms to accommodate both male and female firefighters.

In the summer of 2006, the district hired the engineering firm CT Male to look at the building, and determine what needed to be done to bring the building up to date.

"They went through this place tooth and nail," said Keimer.

Keimer said that they found that the electrical panel is too close to diesel fuel and the truck bays, the communication booth is located in the back of the bay, whereas it should be in the front, there were inadequate water treatment and heating and cooling systems, as well as water in the basement.

The firm also said that the roof would need to be replaced by 2013.

According to Keimer making all the necessary repairs without changing the roofing structure would cost $2 million, and making another addition to the building would cost $5.1 million and take 18 months, however, completely replacing the structure would cost $4.9 million, and take 12 months.

"We believe this is the best option and the best value for our community," he said.

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