ANDOVER — Selectmen voted 2-1 Tuesday to tear down the deteriorated Andover Hook and Ladder Co. fire station at 39 Elm St, Chairman Brian Mills said Wednesday.

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

Selectmen Mark Thurston and Joe Luce voted in favor and Mills voted against the measure.

During an informational meeting Oct. 5, residents voted 13-5 in a straw poll to demolish the two-story building rather than stabilize it. Mills said then that the building “has taken a drastic turn for the worse. 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.”

Abutting property owner David Gallant said at that meeting that if the station falls it would hit his propane tank. “Our two children and their bedrooms are on that side of the house. It’s a drastic safety issue,” he said.

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 station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, according to maineanencyclopdeia.com.

The town took the building by eminent domain in 2019, because of its deteriorating condition.

Mills said Wednesday that he was hoping some residents would step forward with “some money and some time” to save the piece of town history.

“You’re gonna put the same effort into it either way,” he said. “It’s just as costly and time-consuming to take it down as it is to fix it.”

Selectmen are planning to open demolition bids by the end of the week, after they remove the sign and other items. If all goes as planned, bids would be due by Oct. 28 and demolition completed by Nov. 21, Mills said.

Ideas for the lot include creating a memorial for volunteer firefighters and constructing a building for the Andover Historical Society, Mills said.

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