Long-awaited Lake Shore fire station moves forward

  • Anne Arundel County officials hold a ceremonial groundbreaking at the future site of a fire station in the Lake Shore community of Pasadena on Tuesday including, from left, County Councilman Derek Fink, County Executive Laura Neuman, county Fire Chief Michael Cox and Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company Chief Timothy Hall.
Anne Arundel County officials hold a ceremonial groundbreaking… (Pamela Woodstaff, Baltimore…)
September 18, 2014|By Pamela Wood | The Baltimore Sun

There's barely room for the fire engines. The water isn't fit to drink. The safety equipment isn't up to modern standards.

The Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Department's station in Pasadena is well past its prime.

So it was with some sense of community relief that Anne Arundel County officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday for a new fire station about a mile down Mountain Road from the old facility.

The existing station, a brick building that dates to the 1940s, has been in line for replacement for years, and county Fire Chief Michael Cox lobbied to get the project included in the county's budget the past two years.

"The building has outlived its usefulness," Cox said.

The new station is "much needed for Pasadena," said County Executive Laura Neuman.

Volunteer and career firefighters who work at Lake Shore will have to wait, however, before they can run calls out of the new building. Though dignitaries tossed dirt from shiny shovels at Tuesday's ceremony, it will take at least two years before the $5.4 million station is completed.

Lt. Russ Davies, a Fire Department spokesman, said there's still significant planning and site work to be done on the property, a 3.5-acre parcel that was once the site of Pasadena Hardware. A well and septic system must be designed and installed, while working around a marshy portion of the property, Davies said.

Though the front-end work on the property is challenging, county officials hope that by using a steel-frame structure, the building itself will be less expensive and easier to finish.

If the steel building works well for Lake Shore, it could be used as a model for future replacements of fire stations.

The new Lake Shore station will be 12,450 square feet and include three equipment bays, crew quarters, a kitchen, a top-of-the-line exhaust system and work space for police officers. The Eastern District Station for the county police — currently located just down Mountain Road — is moving several miles away to the other side of Pasadena, so the space at Lake Shore will allow patrol officers to do paperwork and store their gear, officials said.

Timothy Hall, chief of the Lake Shore volunteers for the past eight years, said members have mixed thoughts about the new station.

The volunteers who fight fires and run emergency medical calls — about 25 out of the total membership of 90 — are excited to have a modern facility. But others worry they'll be left behind, Hall said.

The new building will be owned by the county government, not the volunteers. Volunteers will retain ownership of the old station, where they'll continue to hold community events such as crab feasts and bingo nights. The volunteers are investigating whether they could build a community hall near the new station, Hall said.

As with many volunteer fire stations in Anne Arundel, Lake Shore is staffed by a combination of paid career firefighters and volunteers. Four career firefighters are stationed at Lake Shore at all times, and volunteers work shifts as they can, Hall said.

Once the new station is operational, officials expect response times to improve on the far end of the Pasadena peninsula and Gibson Island. Lake Shore is the last fire station heading east down Mountain Road, and the new location is about a mile farther down the peninsula than the old station — putting firefighters closer to Pasadena's farthest neighborhoods.

pwood@baltsun.com

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