Firehouse No. 2 committee asks for renovations

The final price continues to be under review for Fire Station No. 2, following a presentation to the Board of Selectmen Jan. 8.

The station, which opened in October 1957, more than 60 years ago, is up for renovations including a raised roof, taller apparatus bay doors and improved facilities like bunk rooms.

There are three proposed layouts, two of which have been priced out and one of which remains to be enumerated, said Chief Ronald Kanterman.

“The critical issue we’ve had to overcome was potable water,” said Rich McCarty, chairman of the Fire Station 2 Building Committee, in speaking with the selectmen at town hall during their regular meeting.

A contract is in the works to deliver that drinking water to the fire station, he said, and a septic issue on the property has been passed by the town’s health director.

With the renovations, designed by local architect Rob Sanders, “we believe it’s a building that works for the next 25 years,” McCarty said. “It keeps it on the existing footprint and is functional on a day-to-day basis.”

The fire station is in just the right place. Kanterman said it is strategically placed to protect property in north Wilton. “It could be nine to 11 minutes out there from our headquarters,” Kanterman said, but with the localized station, it takes four to six minutes to get to a fire scene.

“It’s key,” Kanterman said, because fire can escalate in a condition called flashover in three to four minutes.

Mutual aid from surrounding towns is 18 to 22 minutes away, he said.

“We fight time. Everything we do is time-critical and time-sensitive. We fight the clock. That response time is critical to the town,” Kanterman said.

The station is proposed to have some upgrades. Sanders, the architect, spoke of upgraded sleeping accomodations, a renovated kitchen with new appliances, an electrical upgrade, roof, walls and windows upgrade, and general building code upgrade.

“There’s a lack of a defined entrance and control for visitors coming in,” Sanders said. “There are two bunk rooms, close to the front, and undersized locker rooms. The wellness facilities are undersized. There is virtually no storage in the building. There’s no decontamination shower. We could fit three bunk rooms, with an expanded day room. There’s a shower room in the back.”

The plan calls for adding 350 square feet to the south side of the building.

The other question is what happens during construction. There is no place to park trucks and a trailer on the half-acre of land, so the cost would include one year of offsite rental of space for a trailer and a tent shelter for the trucks, including a power hookup.

“Our hope is to use a town property,” he said.

The goal is to bring the project to a town meeting for a vote. All bonding must be referred to the Board of Finance in March.

Wilton voters in 2016 approved a $90,000 bond authorization to complete architectural and engineering schematics for the renovation.