Fire engine company may be move

By JEN CARDINES
STAFF WRITER
City officials are discussing possible relocation plans for Fire Engine Company 3 after a sub-committee of the Board of Fire Commissioners requested the consideration.
“It’s very preliminary discussion right now,” said Fire Chief Jay Kolakoski. “Engine 3 happens to be the next station in line for a 10 year Capital Improvement Plan project.”
Every station has received regular maintenance when necessary, but this location is due for renovation or reconstruction. The size and location of the current building drew concern from the committee regarding renovations. If renovated, the facility would remain on the same parcel of land and hold the same size, which is no longer adequate for the modern day equipment.
Built in the mid 1960s, the firehouse is no longer adequate for modern day structures and apparatus because of its small size, and though it’s a factor, it is not the only driving force of discussion. The building’s location at 81 Church Ave., Forestville is a safety concern as well.
“It’s right on the apex of a pretty severe curb,” Kolakoski said. “It’s been struck a number of times by vehicles over the years.”
Limited parking spaces also fall under the consideration, and parked cars outside of the station were struck in the past as well.
The fire chief recalled his early days in the department when he was stationed at Company 3, saying that he remembers hearing “the squeal of tires” when cars might not have realized their speed. While vehicles and inanimate objects have been damaged, no firefighters or personnel were injured from any previous accidents, Kolakoski said.
During the July 11 City Council meeting, Kolakoski addressed councilors to report the sub-committee findings.
“The point was brought up that it might be a better play to relocate the station itself to another lot in that area,” he said.
No new officers or personnel are scheduled to be added to the ranks, “it’s just the size of the structure and apparatus” that call for a larger space, the chief reported.
“Everything is much larger now and to do an extensive renovation on that firehouse and end up with the same firehouse property, we’d still have the same danger and possibility or getting struck,” Kolakoski told the council.
Following his remarks and questions from the council, a motion to authorize negotiation of land purchase for Engine Company 3 was approved unanimously. Mayor Ken Cockayne said the city has its eye on a particular parcel but could not share publicly at the time. With the approved motion, officials can work toward obtaining property to relocate the firehouse, if that is the route taken.
Prior to the vote, Cockayne told the councilors that before a purchase occurs, a closed door session will be held to explain how much the property is and where it is located.
“This is more just to give us the authority to start trying to buy it,” Cockayne said about the motion.
Nothing is official, and Kolakoski affirmed this is simply preliminary discussion that stemmed from the sub-committee’s review of personnel, apparatus, and infrastructure.