Elkridge volunteers plan large-scale expansion for fire station Assembly hall, offices to be added ELLICOTT CITY/ELKRIDGE

February 15, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department has outgrown its 1940s-style station and is planning to expand the building.

The 7,800 square-foot expansion will include space for meeting rooms, offices, additional bunks, an exercise area, storage and a 200-person assembly hall for bingo games and other fund-raising activities.

"We're kind of packed in and falling on top of each other here," said volunteer firefighter Nick Cellini, chairman of the department's building committee.

The site development plan for the firehouse expansion is under review by county departments and should be completed within a month, said Alice Ann Wetzel, a county planner. After the plan is approved, the station may apply for building permits, the final stage of the county approval process.

Mr. Cellini said he hopes the expansion can be completed by the end of this year. The county approved $600,000 for the project in the 1991 capital budget, and the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department has budgeted an $50,000 toward the expansion in its operating budget, Mr. Cellini said. In addition, the volunteers hope to raise $50,000 through fund-raising.

The Elkridge station, built in the mid-1940s, is one of the oldest in the county, said Edgar G. Shilling, deputy chief of the county's bureau of fire prevention. In 1992 the station responded to 968 fire calls and 798 medical calls, he said.

The department, which has 60 volunteer members and nine career firefighters, doesn't have enough room to carry out its work in the most efficient way, said Eugene Poligardo, president of the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department.

Mr. Poligardo said there isn't adequate space at the station to conduct firefighting and emergency medicine training sessions to update members' skills.

"You'd like to have a facility where you can provide that training in a quiet-type atmosphere," said Mr. Poligardo.

Mr. Cellini added that the meeting room doubles as the exercise room and the vehicle storage facility serves as the bingo hall.

He said the department needs a larger hall for its fund-raising activities, including weekly bingo games, spaghetti dinners and breakfasts.

The larger hall also can be used for community activities and wedding receptions, Mr. Cellini said.

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