Phillips fire chief authorized to design addition to station

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PHILLIPS — Selectmen and Town Manager Elaine Hubbard on Tuesday authorized a design for an addition to the fire station, after fire Chief James Gould told them more space is needed.

Gould said firefighters can barely open vehicle doors without hitting others, and there is little to no room for training and equipment storage. He said replacement firetrucks will be larger than the older vehicles, so the need for more space is becoming more urgent.

There is room to build two bays at the end of the building near NorthStar’s ambulance shed, he said, and the addition would not interfere with that structure.

He didn’t have an estimate of costs but wanted selectmen to be aware of the problem, he said.

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“Sounds like we need a plan,” Selectman Ray Gaudette said.

Selectmen and Town Manager Elaine Hubbard asked Gould to prepare a design draft so selectmen can start budgeting.

Gould also said the thermal imaging camera, a critical piece of equipment, stopped working at a structure fire two weeks ago and needs to be replaced.

“It’s 15 years old now, so it’s time to replace it,” he said. “Technology has changed a lot over that time, and we will have a lot of features that will really help on all kinds of calls.”

Gould suggested that improved graphics in newer cameras, accurate detection of hot spots and the improved ability to find people could save lives. He said he has joined with other fire departments in Maine to negotiate a lower bulk purchase price.

Selectmen approved his request of $10,695 to purchase a new camera.

Since the town provides fire protection for unorganized territories and to the town of Avon, Hubbard suggested selectmen ask the Franklin County commissioners and Avon officials to help pay for it.

In other business Tuesday, Road Commissioner Ward Bredeau said most road repairs, including those on Bog Road, have been completed.

“We added a lot of gravel,” he said.

He also said he has completed negotiations with Chesterville to acquire a new sanding truck.

Bredeau said several new and expensive street signs, traffic cones and at least one stop sign have been stolen and he has few resources to stop thefts.

“In one night we lost 16 cones, two street signs, and a stop sign,” he said.

Hubbard said the cost to replace them could be as much as $5,000 a year.

In other business, Hubbard said she received no bids for the former Town Office at 22 Main St. The sale could be handled by an auction house, but the town will pay a larger percentage of the sale price for the service.

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