PARIS – Paris Fire Chief Bradley Frost can’t wait for May 30.

By then, the fire department should be fully moved into its brand new fire station on Western Avenue.

The 32-member department will be leaving their cramped 80-plus year-old station at Market Square, which they outgrew years ago.

“It has been a long time coming,” said Frost. “The town of Paris got something it should be very proud of when it’s done.”

Town officials have talked about the need for a new station since the mid-1990s, and controversy over the price tag delayed the project for over a year before construction began last fall.

Voters rejected first a $3.1 million project, then also said no to a resubmitted $2.5 million project. Finally, at last year’s town meeting, voters agreed to a $1.96 million one-story station, with five drive through bays.

Standing inside the huge bay, Frost said it’s going to be nice for a change not to worry about bumping his head on the ceiling while handling hose, as was the case at the Market Square Station. The bay has plenty of height and aisle space for the town’s 55-foot ladder truck, and its three pumpers, along with a tank truck, squad truck, forestry vehicle and jeep. There’s also a hose tower on one end, large enough to handle 75 lengths of 50-foot hose.

“It’s small, but it will do what we want it to do,” said Frost of the hose tower.

At the other end of the bay, the station’s main entrance leads to a spacious dispatch area on the right, adjacent to public bathrooms. To the left of the entrance are offices for the chief and the deputy chief. Further down the hall are two dorm rooms, designed to bunk two persons each, in anticipation of the need for full-time professional staffing 10 years or so down the road.

A different hall leads to the jewel of the station – its 150-seat community hall and training center.

“This is a beautiful room,” Frost said as he walked across the shining checkerboard linoleum floor and hit the lights. He said the auxiliary will be putting curtains on the windows to complement the room’s lime-green walls. The entire office section of the station, in fact, has been painted in accenting shades of green.

The first time most of the public will see the new station is at this year’s town meeting, when voters will gather in the new community hall at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 21.

A full kitchen – four times the size of the old one – serves the 55-by-50-foot hall, and Frost said the Firemen’s Relief Auxiliary plans to have fundraising suppers there at least every other month. A set of guidelines for use of the hall is now being drawn up by the town’s policy committee.

Beyond the kitchen, a hall leads to a less formal kitchenette and lounge. It’s designed as a place for weary firefighters to congregate after a call, or a place for firefighters from other towns to gather when they’re covering for Paris under mutual aid.

There’ll be parking all around the building, said Frost, more than sufficient to meet the station’s needs. Paving begins next week. Other than a small bit of plumbing and electrical work, the building is all but complete.

“It’s something the department has needed for a long time,” said Frost, “and it’s much more than just a place to store trucks.”



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