Dummerston's new fire substation lighter, bigger, more usable

Ribbon-cutting ceremony to be announced soon

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DUMMERSTON — Firefighters here should have their substation back up and running in the next couple weeks.

"We're very excited," West Dummerston Assistant Fire Chief Richard Cogliano said Thursday during a tour. "Coming from a station that was dark, had water issues, had electrical issues, was small and cramped — this is huge for us. It's a lot lighter. It's a lot bigger. As far as the layout, it's a lot more usable."

The support from the taxpayers, Cogliano said, has been "fantastic."

In a 401-69 vote last August, residents overwhelmingly approved of securing a five-year loan between $150,000 and $170,000 to pay for the construction of the East-West Road Station. Altogether, the project is estimated to cost $280,000. And through a successful fundraising drive, the town raised about $140,000.

Updates about the project on the department's Facebook page have been greeted with enthusiasm. On Thursday, crews were finishing up the flooring in the kitchen and training room.

Getting about 200 to 220 calls a year, Cogliano said the station fits the small department's needs.

"For us, it's definitely huge," he said, noting that the building is only slightly larger in square feet than its predecessor, but it's now one floor rather than two. "We took the meeting room that was on the second floor and we added it onto the back of the building. We made the bay slightly larger. We squared off the building. The ceilings are definitely higher so we have no issues with fit of the trucks and the apparatus, where our Engine 2 could not fit in here before."

When other departments had come to cover the Dummerston station during calls in the past, Cogliano said, they had to keep their trucks outside. That can create problems in the winter; pumps can freeze up.

A new truck is supposed to make its way to the department next year.

"So that means we'd have two trucks that wouldn't fit in here," Cogliano said, "and that's not workable."

Two engines, a rescue vehicle and a brush truck are at the department's main station in West Dummerston. And for now, the engine that comes from the East-West Road Station is being kept at the town garage. The brush truck also will be in the new station once it's ready.

Blasting behind the building occurred after the old building was demolished.

"Before we were right up against the ledge and that was causing water to seep underneath the building and into the building to cause moisture issues," Cogliano said. "We had corrosion issues, mildew issues, stuff like that. With this building, that's all been remediated."

The station has all new electrical and plumbing. Energy efficiency was kept in mind when windows and lighting were chosen. Accessibility for individuals with disabilities also was improved via a ramp on the side door and bathroom upgrades.

Cogliano showed the Reformer where the lockers would be kept, in one of the bays where ceilings reach 14 feet high. Before, the bays were only 10 feet high. The training room and kitchen in the rear of the building have ceilings that are 10 feet high.

Radiant heat in the floors will allow the hoses to dry. That means a hose tower will not need to be built. The process is much easier for firefighters, according to Cogliano.

Two fire ponds near the building will remain mostly unchanged. Cogliano said piping will be added to the upper pond so an engine can be filled with water while parked in front of the new station rather than having to be in the roadway.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be announced soon.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.

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