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Goffstown fire stations need significant upgrades

GOFFSTOWN — The town’s three fire stations at Church Street, Mast Road and Tirrell Hill Road are outdated and in need of repairs to keep up with the town’s growing demands for fire and rescue services.

In March, voters will be asked to approve a $4 million bond for improvements and upgrades to the stations. The estimated cost of renovations is $4.5 million, but Fire Chief Richard O’Brien said with grants and a public safety impact fund, the taxpayer cost could be reduced to $4 million.

“I want these designs and features to last at least 30 years, and the ones we’re looking at will last that long,” O’Brien said.

The Church Street station in town center was built in 1959. Firefighters work in crowed spaces, with their gear and apparatus kept in various places, and some equipment is decontaminated in the kitchen or bathrooms. The Church Street and Mast Road stations have lead paint and floor tiles contain asbestos. The Tirrell Hill station’s well contains radon and arsenic, O’Brien said.

In addition, fire vehicles have limited clearance when exiting and entering the bays — the ambulance has about 1½ inches on either side, and the fire engine has about a 4-inch leeway under the bay door.

“It’s 9 feet, 6 inches with a 10-foot clearance. Sometimes the antennae gets bent on the way in,” said O’Brien.

The Fire Station Improvement Committee found that Tirrell Hill Road Station 17 has significant problems with the structure and mechanical components. The committee recommended that the building be reconfigured and the existing apparatus areas be converted to office and crew spaces, and a new apparatus bay be added to the building.

At Station 18 on Church Street, the committee found inadequate apparatus, office, crew quarters and storage spaces, and several heating, electrical and mechanical problems. The station should be upgraded along with building an addition to accommodate modern fire apparatus and provide adequate storage, training and crew facilities.

The Mast Road Station 19, built in 1969, has inadequate apparatus space as well as heating, electrical and mechanical problems, inadequate crew quarters and training areas. The committee recommended that the station be upgraded and an addition built to accommodate modern fire apparatus and an improved second-floor training, crew and office spaces.

“The committee thought the stations were in very good locations, but needed a lot of work,” O’Brien said.

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