Station #1 experiences growing pains

Quinton Sheppard - Posted on May 08, 2019 - 02:33 PM

The Gloucester Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, Inc., is outgrowing its quarters at Station #1 in the Court House and is looking into ways of expanding the current location or building an entirely new facility.

The matter was discussed Tuesday night during the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors meeting in the colonial courthouse, as the fire department will be seeking the help of the board as it moves forward.

Board chairman Ashley Chriscoe, along with Petsworth district supervisor Michael Winebarger, toured Station #1 with fire chief J.D. Clements last week and Chriscoe said it’s not difficult to see the challenges that the department is facing in its current building. “They’ve pretty much grown to capacity at the way the current building is set up,” he said.

According to Chriscoe, preliminary estimates for fully renovating Station #1 to meet current needs is in the neighborhood of $12 million. To building an entirely new facility at a different location would cost significantly less money, on the order of just under $7 million.

One of the challenges with the current building comes with meeting ventilation requirements, specifically ensuring the roof of the building is properly ventilated for the apparatus that come in and out and are housed there. Another issue comes with the requirement that ambulances must be decontaminated in a secure facility after each call.

Currently, Chriscoe said there is barely enough room to move around the outside of the ambulances when they are parked inside Station #1, so they have to be pulled out of the building to be cleaned.

“There are a lot of challenges,” he said. “So far, they’ve been able to overcome them. But there will come a time when they won’t be able to overcome them.”