Company volunteers look with pride at spacious, new Mt. Airy fire station

November 03, 1992|By Kathy Sutphin | Kathy Sutphin,Contributing Writer

A dream will come true soon when the 70 members of the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Co. step into the 21st century and occupy their new $1.6 million fire station.

"The community should really appreciate this," said Oscar Baker, who has been an active member of the company for more than 50 years. "If they only knew the sweat and tears that have gone into this over the past 66 years. It's fantastic."

The spacious three-level, brick station was designed to be self-sufficient with "high efficiency and low maintenance" in mind, said Doug Alexander, chairman of the committee that oversaw the station's design and construction.

"We're hoping to get in this weekend," Mr. Alexander said yesterday. "If the weather doesn't break, we won't get our final inspection" and final occupancy permit from the county.

Breckbill and Helman Construction Co. Inc. of Chambersburg, Pa., is the design-build contractor.

The first level of the 26,600-square-foot building features a lounge, physical training room, radio room, laundry room, locker rooms, bunk room and an archives room where the company's historic 1926 LaFrance fire engine will be housed.

Crowded conditions that plagued the old firehouse will be a thing of the past with the first level's end bay for equipment maintenance and five double-deep bays that can hold two engines each.

Offices, a computer room and a board room are featured on the second level. A small meeting room, a small kitchen and a multipurpose room are on the basement level.

"We want the whole community to enjoy it as we will," said President Pat Holmes. "It's something for the community to be proud of as well as [the] members."

The volunteers began moving nearly three weeks ago from the old firehouse into the new station, and are continuing to move hoses, ambulance supplies and other items each night, said Mr. Alexander.

Extra fire hoses, oxygen tanks, ambulance supplies and a breathing air compressor are just a few of the many cumbersome items volunteers are moving, piece by piece, into the new station.

"You have to move what you can when you can," said Mr. Alexander.

Each firefighter is responsible for transferring his or her 50 pounds of personal gear to the new station, said Mr. Alexander.

Although area residents will soon see Mount Airy's red engine, tanker, rescue squad vehicle, brush truck and two medic units parked at the new North Main Street location, the ceremonial "housing" of the equipment will not take place for more than a month, Mr. Holmes said.

A dedication ceremony is planned for Dec. 6, when mutual aid volunteers will be asked to push the equipment up Main Street to the new station. The "housing" is a tradition "they do a lot in the North," Mr. Holmes said.

Volunteers will take time out from the move to continue fund-raising for the new station Sunday with a turkey, oyster and ham dinner. The new station is being financed through the efforts of fire company members and their auxiliary.

Sunday's dinner begins at noon at the Mount Airy Firemen's Activities Building at Twin Arch Road and Route 27. Tickets cost $9 for adults, $4.50 for children 12 years and free for children under 5 years.

The fire company's second "Buy-a-Brick" fund-raiser for the new fire station will continue through the end of December, said Mr. Baker, who heads the fund-raising committee.

The "Buy-a-Brick" campaign gives special recognition for donations of $100 or more to the building fund. Mr. Baker said 84 bricks with engraved brass plates have been purchased at $500 each. They will be permanently located in the new station's lobby.

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