PLYMOUTH - After years of discussion and planning, the town broke ground Tuesday on the major expansion and renovation of Fire Station No. 2, at 691 Main St.
“For the Town of Plymouth this is an exciting and long overdue project,” said Mayor David Merchant. “We conceived of this project about six years ago when I was on the Board of Fire Commissioners. This is going to provide a tremendous amount of safety for our firemen.”
The $3.75 million for the project was approved in a bond referendum last October. It involves expanding the station property to allow fire trucks to exit onto nearby South Street (Route 262) instead of going directly onto busy Main Street (Route 6) as they do now.
The town has already bought part of the adjoining residential property at 5 South St. to build the new exit.
“If you stand by Route 6 you see the cars coming up the hill and you can see how dangerous that is, so we will eliminate that. When the alarm goes off the trucks will go out South Street, and they can control the traffic light there. From there they can go onto Route 6 or if they have to go the other way [on South Street] they can,” Merchant said.
Terryville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mark Sekorski has said that about 50 percent of the calls from Station 2 go out to the Lake Plymouth and Greystone areas, near the Waterbury line. Right now to go that way the trucks have to head downhill toward Thomaston then take a left onto South Street. The new layout will eliminate that.
“When the trucks return they will come in off Route 6 and pull into four big bays we’ll have right here,” Merchant said, standing in back of the existing firehouse.
A 7,000-square-foot addition behind the 50-plus year old station will include the larger bays to accommodate modern fire trucks, plus extra lavatories, office space, a fitness room, a training room, and more. The town had already begun leveling the ground and marking out the foundation for the addition days before the groundbreaking.
Merchant said he expects the project to be finished by next summer, depending on how severe this winter is.
In the past when persuading the public to vote for the project, Sekorski has stressed how dangerous the traffic situation is for the fire trucks at Station No. 2.
When the station was built over 50 years ago, traffic on Route 6 in that area was light, he has said. “Now the traffic is horrendous. The cars zoom over the hill and they run the traffic light.”
In addition, a lot of the firefighters at Station 2 live on South Street, so the new driveway would allow them to drive in without having to contend with the traffic light at Route 6, Sekorski has said.
The new addition will be better able to accommodate paid firefighters, which Sekorski has said many times the town will eventually have to start hiring due to the difficulty in attracting and retaining enough volunteers.
Sekorski also has said the new addition will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and could serve as an emergency shelter for that end of town.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.