Expanded Cumberland fire station could open next spring

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CUMBERLAND — A renovated and expanded Central Fire Station could be complete by next spring, Fire Chief Dan Small said in an interview June 2.

The Town Council last November unanimously approved borrowing up to $4.1 million, including contingency funds, to construct an addition to the 366 Tuttle Road building. Most of the funding for the project comes from the town’s capital budget, according to Councilor Tom Gruber.

The station’s administrative section was demolished last month, and in its place and on a neighboring property will stand a two-story addition, along with a lower level accessed off a new 27-space parking lot, geared toward visitors. An existing parking lot with 22 spaces for staff remains, as does the station’s apparatus bay.

The larger building will replace a house the town bought in 1993 with an eye toward future expansion, and used for sleeping quarters for emergency personnel. The 1956 structure, with an attached two-car garage, has been moved to the public works site until the council can decide where to permanently place it. A detached two-car barn was demolished.

With its headquarters undergoing construction, the Fire Department has temporarily moved its offices down the street to the lower level of Town Hall, next to the police station.

The ambulance is parked at Town Hall, the ladder truck and engine are at public works, and the heavy rescue truck is at the West Cumberland station, Small said, praising the other town departments for sharing space. The trucks are expected to return to Central Fire Station this fall.

The one-level structure was erected in 1968, on the site of a wood firehouse built 40 years earlier, said Small, who became chief in 1999, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

“This lot has been prime real estate for decades due to its proximity to the schools and (being) in the very center of town,” he said.

The first floor of the expanded building – nearly three times the size of the 1968 structure – will house apparatus bays, administrative areas and community paramedicine space; the second will have living quarters, a day room, and kitchen and fitness areas. Training and medical equipment, an emergency operations center, and a kitchen and community room will be on the lower level.

The older wing sits on a grade roughly 8 feet higher than the new. An elevator will provide access to the various levels.

“We’ve done a lot of planning for the future,” Small said. “This place went 50 years; we want to build a new one for another 50 if we can.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Cumberland Fire Chief Dan Small stands June 2 in front of the town’s Central Fire Station. Expansion of the station should be complete next spring.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.