JACKSON – The Jackson Fire Department held an open house on November 6 at the 58 Main Street station, as well as an open call to residents to replace the 4,000 square foot station built in 1947.
Before the station was built, the city made do with a pump truck stored behind the Jackson Grammar School. What led to its construction was the horrific fire of Oct. 22, 1947 that razed the entire town of Brownfield, Maine, according to a member of the Jackson Fire Department.
The station has since been renovated several times, adding additional freeway bays in the 1960s and a second story in 1983. In 2004, a fourth bay was added.
Not only did Fire Chief Jay Henry and Deputy Chief Peter Benson welcome visitors to Jackson’s open house, but also the other members of the Jackson Fire Hall construction committee, nominated by selected men, including Barbara Campbell, President of Elite Men.
A detailed eight-page document was provided to all who stopped by the open house. He associated numbered deficiencies with corresponding images on plasticized photo panels that illustrated concepts such as “no floor drainage”, “no maintenance workshop”, “inadequate interior lighting for vehicle maintenance and for the work areas “,” training room not accessible to the ADA “and” poor ventilation “, as well as the old-fashioned appearance of the building:” the presence in the street for a fire station is not the best for the pride of the community ”.
To address these shortcomings, voters were persuaded to allocate $ 25,000 for a floor plan and elevation designed by Samyn-D’Elia Architects of Holderness, the same group that completed the North Conway Fire Hall. $ 6.7 million that recently replaced a smaller station built in 1962 on Norcross Circle.
Ward D’Elia was the architect who designed the proposed Jackson station. Reached on Tuesday, he said the structure would measure 8,100 square feet and that the design incorporated all the wants and needs of the Jackson Fire Hall construction committee. “They’ve been working for years to get this building,” he said, which he says is one story, although there is a mezzanine in the appliance bay.
“We helped them consolidate their thinking. We have developed a program for their space needs. We discussed the possibility of renovating the current building. Based on the size of the building they wanted, we concluded that you might as well build a new one, ”D’Elia said.
The new Jackson station he designed features translucent skylights, a large training group area, room for four fire trucks and other vehicles, a decontamination room, and separate toilets for men and women.
D’Elia also assessed the possible sites, providing four “blueprints” in terms of the location of a new station. Figure 1 showed it ascending the west side of the Jackson Public Library, currently a parking lot for a trail system. The other three diagrams show it on the same plot as the current station but with different locations on the lot. In one, the road up to the garage from the city highway is shown possibly shifted to the left of the fire station. In another, it bumps into the adjacent police department with a connection path.
“In the end, they decided it was best to keep it on the same site as the current station, except further down the street which provides more parking,” D’Elia said.
Campbell said the estimated cost of the new station would be between $ 4.5 million and $ 5.7 million, with the range reflecting material and labor costs, which have increased since the start of the pandemic.
A New Hampshire Municipal Bond Bank chart provided by city administrator Julie Atwell showed that a bond sale in July 2022 of $ 5.7 million, with an interest rate of 3% on 29 years, would have an initial tax rate increase of 88 cents per $ 1,000 of property valuation. The bank said the interest rate would likely be lower.
A tour of the station showed four cramped bays in the front of the building, as well as an annex that contained a vintage wildfire truck and a CanAm UTV that was donated to the ministry.
After taking a look at the equipment room and the rafters from which the pipes hang to drain, the tour continued up a flight of stairs to the second floor, which contained a packed guard room. recliners, a trestle table and benches. , a large, somewhat dated kitchen and a flat-screen TV. On the wood-paneled walls were pictures of former fire chiefs as well as maps and whiteboards. Behind it was a hallway leading to two small rooms: an archive room and the office of city code enforcement officer and building inspector, Kevin Bennett.
Before descending the stairs, we arrive at the smallest office in the world, that of Chief Henry, recessed in a space the size of a broom closet (albeit with a breathtaking view of the garage on the city).
A 2020 Jackson Fire Department report written by Chief Henry in the recent Jackson Town annual report indicated that fire apparatus repairs for the past year were above normal. He said this was because “some equipment is older (20 years and older) and needs attention due to its age”.
Henry also said that “the call volume for 2020 has been extremely high, with 145 calls for service.” The reasons given were storms with downed trees, an increase in the number of residents and visitors to the city, an increase in motor vehicle accidents and car fires, and more calls for mutual aid.
A neighboring department, Bartlett’s, also had a busy year. In Bartlett’s annual city report, Bartlett Fire Chief Jeff Currier reported an increase from 313 service calls in 2019 to 365 calls in 2020. Putting a strain on all emergency services in the valley , with more fire alarms, car accidents and other calls to emergency services. “
According to firenews.org, the North Conway Fire Department recorded 1,394 calls for service last year.
Along with Henry, Campbell and Benson, the other members of the fire hall construction committee are Jerry Dougherty IV (chairman), Hank Dresch, Debony Diehl, Pat Kelley and Dick Bennett.
Selectmen recently approved the pre-order of a new fire truck to replace a 30-plus-year-old Mack tanker (see related article). However, in order to install the new, bigger truck, the department will have to break down a back wall.
Selectmen will learn more about the need for a new building at their next meeting on December 14 (no meeting on November 23).