ANDOVER — Residents indicated to selectmen Tuesday night that the Andover Hook and Ladder Co. building should be torn down rather than stabilized. The informal vote was 13-5.

The historic Andover Hook and Ladder Co. fire station at 39 Elm St. was taken by the town in 2019 because of its deteriorating condition. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Chairman Brian Mills said the board will make a final decision at their meeting next Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall.

The town took the old fire station at 39 Elm St. at by eminent domain in 2019 because of its deteriorating condition.

The Andover Hook and Ladder Co. was established in 1890 as a firefighting force. Its 1904 station served the town until 1987 when a new station was built at 38 South Main St.

The old two-story station, which is empty, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, according to 

The building “has taken a drastic turn for the worse,” Mills said Tuesday. “On the east side, the roof is bowed, the rafters are broken, the wall is pushing out. It is definitely not in the condition we were hoping it was going to stay in.”

David Gallant, whose property abuts it, said if it falls “it’s gonna fall on (our) propane tank. Our two children and their bedrooms are on that side of the house. It’s a drastic safety issue.”

“We’ve looked into the windows from upstairs this winter,” Gallant said, “and there is water and ice all through the building; there is black mold all through the building. I petitioned the selectmen board that it be condemned; it really needs to come down.”

Some residents, however, thought the building may be worth saving because of its historic value. One woman said it “has so much charm.”

Resident Peggy Madigan said she wished the town had more money to repair it.

As a reminder, Selectman Mark Thurston said residents voted at the June town meeting to put $27,000 from the sale of a tax-acquired property in an account for the old station. However, he said, holding a fundraiser to help to pay for the building’s repair “is going to take time that we probably don’t have.”

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