Rumford is looking to replace the Central Fire Station, built in 1924, with a new building that is larger and can accommodate new equipment. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD—A workshop will take place on June 28 when the Select Board and public will discuss possible site locations for a new fire station.

The 6 p.m. forum will take place upstairs in the Rumford Falls Auditorium.

At the town’s annual business meeting on June 7, voters authorized the selectmen to purchase land for the new facility.

At Thursday’s board meeting, Selectman Frank DiConzo said he was told a petition is being circulated to have the new fire station built on the town-owned property where the old Linnell Motel was located at 986 Prospect Ave.

Selectman Peter Chase noted that it’s located in a flood zone and that he’s seen three feet of water there before.

Town Manager Stacy Carter said the plan for the June 28 workshop is to discuss the pros and cons of all sites to be considered, including the Linnell site.

He said he hopes people will attend the workshop to get answers to their questions and, “why we chose a site to move forward with. This is a valid part of the process.”

Board Chairman Chris Brennick said they’ve explored around the Falmouth Street area, in part due to the number of old tenement buildings there.

He also noted Rumford tried the regional approach for a fire station with neighboring Mexico, which also is looking for a new building. However, Mexico has decided to go out on its own for a fire station.

When the Central Fire Station on Congress Street was built 97 years ago, fire engines and equipment were much lighter. “Today’s heavier equipment is causing deterioration of the floor,” noted Fire Chief Chris Reed.

Carter said town officials have realized the need for a new fire station since the 1990s, but have been unsuccessful in all three attempts to obtain funding. Twice, townspeople turned down requests, and on the third try in 2009, the town was awarded a $3 million grant, but that funding never came through.

He said he was told the expected cost for the type of fire station the town is looking to build is $4.5 million.

The station currently houses, on a regular basis, five fire engines and two trailers. When other equipment is included, the combined weight is 141,805 pounds. Beyond that, there’s a building that houses another engine, Ladder 3, which weighs in at 69,500 pounds. Despite the flooring system being reinforced in 1991, stress on the structural integrity has resulted in a number of cracks forming throughout the facility.

Carter and Reed both noted that constructing a new fire station will be a two-to-three year process. During that time, Reed said the progression of the cracks will continue to accelerate.

Reed indicated his needs for the new facility include five bays to put the apparatuses in, storage for all the other equipment, office space and sleeping quarters.

Carter said when the town gets enough information on the cost of building a new station, they will go to the citizens for approval.

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