CLIFTON PARK — The Vischer Ferry Volunteer Fire Department’s $4 million plan to expand its Moe Road fire station will go before the town Planning Board on Wednesday.
Voters approved the plan in December; if all goes according to plan, the project would go out to bid in late 2021 and construction would begin in early 2022.
Kevin Bowman, chairman of the Vischer Ferry Fire District’s Board of Commissioners, said the project puts the building in compliance with regulations that have changed since its construction in 1982.
The rules are maintained by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association, Bowman said, and mainly center on personal safety.
Turnout gear, the protective outerwear that firefighters wear to a fire scene, is no longer supposed to be stored in the garage, so that firefighters shimmying into the bulky gear aren’t at risk of stumbling and falling under a truck as it pulls out.
Also, Bowman said, “There’s a clean side of the firehouse and a dirty side.” After a fire, turnout gear goes on the dirty side until it’s cleaned up. A space to wash the gear is included.
Meanwhile, firefighting apparatus is getting bigger. The roughly 7,000 square feet of additional space will be useful for that.
Bowman said the commissioners are cautiously optimistic that the project won’t suffer too badly from the soaring cost of construction materials, especially wood.
“Fortunately, a lot of it’s going to be concrete masonry,” he said.
The budget is $3.9 million.
“What we’re hoping is that we can take advantage of some contractors that are trying to keep crews busy” during the typical off-season in the construction industry, Bowman said, and who would therefore bid a little lower.
The district’s three stations have been built or renovated to modern standards over the last two decades:
- Station 1 on Riverview Road in Rexford, the department’s main station, dates to 1964, was expanded in 1974 and was renovated and expanded in 1997.
- Station 2 on Grooms Road was constructed in 2007.
- Station 3 was built in 1982.
With the overhaul of Station 3, the fire district will be caught up on its space and regulatory needs, Bowman said, at least for the near future.
“It’s kind of a moving target,” he said.
The department has 50 to 55 active members at any given time and responds to about 700 calls on an average year.
The district was formed in 1951 and encompasses 15.5 square miles on the southern edge of Clifton park.