2016-04-07 / Around Town

Town Unveils New Fire Station

By Olga Enger


Middletown Fire Chief Ronald Doire (far left), members of the Town Council and other official, cut a ribbon at the opening of the Middletown Fire Department’s new fire station, which has been 10 years in the making. The station was officially unveiled at the start of the council meeting on April 4. 
(Photo by Carmela Geer) Middletown Fire Chief Ronald Doire (far left), members of the Town Council and other official, cut a ribbon at the opening of the Middletown Fire Department’s new fire station, which has been 10 years in the making. The station was officially unveiled at the start of the council meeting on April 4. (Photo by Carmela Geer) Standing on gleaming floors encased by freshly painted walls, Middletown leaders officially opened the newly-constructed Middletown fire station and public works building on Wyatt Road on Monday night, April 4.

“This is a project that we have literally worked on for 10 years,” said Town Administrator Shawn Brown, introducing the ribbon cutting ceremony. “In 2005, we began securing the funds with GMH, which is a partner with the U.S. Navy, to basically provide the town monies where we provide police and fire services.”

During the 2012 election, Middletown voters overwhelmingly approved a $7.5 million bond for the project. Payments are offset by an agreement with the former GMH Military Housing for emergency services to the Anchorage, Coddington and Greene Lane neighborhoods.

“Today is truly a milestone of the Middletown Fire Department,” agreed Fire Chief Ronald Doire.

“It’s funny when I look back to 2012, when we sent this out to the people, it was overwhelming,” said Town Council President Robert Sylvia at the ceremony. “It was right after some post-recessionary times, some tough times. The people of our town sent a strong message that they care. They respect and acknowledge what our first responders, what our firefighters and public work personnel do.”

The project included a major rehab to the building, which was built in 1955, and boasts a new 11,000-square-foot addition on the north side.

“This project is truly interesting in the fact that our existing building consisted of five different spaces, three different fire departments and two police stations, and represents a whole history of building construction and decisions,” said Brown.

The new station features more open space and light, a decontamination room, a kitchen and living room, and a community room, as well as separate bunks and bathroom facilities for women, which is a first for the department.

Similar to the community room at the police station on Valley Road, the new meeting room is available to the public. Equipped with power generators, Doire also expects that the room could serve as a command hub during emergencies and storms.

The department was planning to move into their new space as early as last summer, but an issue with the roof delayed the opening. Throughout construction, the department operated out of the former police station, which did not impact response times, Doire reported.

In 2013, the council awarded a $6.5 million contract to lowest bidder Iron Construction Group LLC of Warwick. At that time, council also approved a $149,385 contract for J. Farrar and Associates of Newport to serve as an independent reviewer of the project. Lawrence Associates of Manchester, Conn., which was the firm that oversaw the construction of the Middletown police station, was the architect.

Sylvia views the building as a “reinvestment” for the town. “Here we are with a new complex, a new fire and public works complex. It’s something we should all be very, very proud of,” he said.

The fire department responds to approximately 3,000 emergency calls every year, with the majority of the incidents related to medical or car accidents. Additionally, the fire marshal and inspector are sent out on around 1,000 calls every year.

A public open house will be scheduled in the near future, Doire said.

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