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June 23. 2013 7:18PM

Pelham celebrates brand new fire station

PELHAM — It was a day worth waiting a decade for.

On Saturday morning, people gathered in front of the new Pelham Fire Station to get an up-close look at the $3.9 million facility.

Construction on the new station began last June, and the station has been fully operational since early May.

During a ceremony held in the front parking lot, Fire Chief James Midgley thanked all who supported the project since the beginning.

The Pelham Board of Selectmen formed a committee to evaluate the town’s growing safety needs in 2003. Those needs have changed with the times and with the town.

“That’s how it all began, with committee members just sitting down and talking,” Midgley said. “It’s difficult enough to plan two years ahead, let alone 10. But the committee’s projections have pretty much stayed on track.”

In 1974, the Pelham Fire Department received a total of 121 calls. By 2011, that number had increased to 1,300 calls.

Right now, the department has 19 full-time firefighters and more than 20 on-call firefighters.

Bedford’s Eckman Construction built the facility, which is located in the town complex on Marsh Road next to Pelham’s Town Hall, library and police station, while Salem’s Trident Project Advantage Group consulted with town officials on the project.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the new fire station during the March 2012 town meeting.

Midgley said he was thrilled when he learned the project came in under budget.

“In today’s economy, we wanted to make sure we were spending our tax dollars appropriately,” Midgley said. “It was quite a challenge.”

Over the past decade, the Pelham Fire Department has doubled in size and transformed from a small, all-volunteer fire station to the state-of-the-art, six-bay garage station that is open 24 hours a day.

Among the many guests attending Saturday’s ceremony was Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Hassan said the project’s success is proof that “anything is possible if we work hard to achieve it.”

She thanked the citizens of Pelham for their dedication to their town’s future and in particular, the firefighters and paramedics who work to help citizens in need both day and night.

“Because of your service, our community and our state are all the stronger,” Hassan said.

Board of Selectman Chairman Edmund Gleason said the words of another Gleason came to mind on this happy occasion.

“How sweet it is,” he said, quoting Jackie Gleason. “In any weather, regardless of the environmental conditions, we’re keeping people safe.”

“This has truly been a team effort,” Gleason added.

Selectman Harold Lynde, who has lived in Pelham for 40 years, said the end result was well worth the wait.

During a recent tour of the new building, Lynde said he turned to Midgley and remarked, “It’s obvious to me that an awful lot of thought went into this building.”

Leading the crowd in a blessing of the new station and all who work there, Fire Chaplain Bill Ferguson bowed his head in reverence.

“We are people of visions, people of dreams,” he said.aguilmet@newstote.com


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