Fire stations of the world: New Centre Fire Headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts in the US
The New Centre Fire Headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts in the US is situated at 984 Main Street in Tewksbury across from the Town Hall and was opened in March 2022. The Centre Fire Station is an important infrastructure improvement for the town as the original fire department on Pleasant Street was constructed in 1966 and some form of fire station has been on that site since early last century. The fire department has seen an expansion in the types of calls that it responds to over the years and the new facility is essential to providing fire, medical and safety support to Tewksbury’s growing community.
Separate studies in 2007 and 2015 concluded that it was not feasible to renovate the existing building, which has given over 50 years of service to the community.
According to Town Manager Richard Montuori, the building incorporates environmentally-friendly and sustainable features which enhance energy savings and reduce maintenance costs. The building is designed for modern fire fighting apparatus but will service all of the department’s administrative, training and community needs.
In April of 2017, the town voted unanimously to authorise the borrowing of $15 million and a bond premium of $896 810 for a total project cost of $15 896 810 for the design and construction of the new fire station. The facility is under budget, currently estimated to cost $12,6 million.
The completed fire station boasts state-of-the-art features and significantly addresses the challenging living and working conditions that Tewksbury fire fighters have endured at the old facility. The building has five deep vehicle bays that will house two engines, a ladder truck and two ambulances.
The building is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and includes an elevator. Radiant heat provided by a hot water system will substantially improve the conditions for the fire fighters as they perform equipment maintenance inside the building. In addition, the radiant heating extends out into the driveway area so that trucks can leave quickly under snow and ice conditions.
Bifold entry doors provide a dramatic entrance and light-filled space for working on the vehicles and the doors are so well balanced that they can be opened easily by hand if needed. That said a large generator on site will keep the operation up and running in the event of a power outage.
Signature slide poles are shiny and new and have safety surrounds in contrasting silver and brass finishes. New traffic signals on Main Street will stop traffic instantly when tripped for an emergency call.
Special features have been incorporated into the design such as exhaust hoses to extract diesel fumes out of the building, a washable resin epoxy floor, and heating and cooling systems for improved air quality and personnel safety. Architects included training elements throughout the building including interior windows to practice rescues, outdoor rappelling hooks to climb up and down the building sides and wide stairwells to train for ascending and descending with gear.
A fitness room, training room, and patio will support the firefighters on their 24 hour shifts. Skylights bring natural light into the building and the use of red lights at night will help maintain the fire fighters’ circadian rhythms as they wake and acclimate quickly when they have to respond to an alarm in the middle of the night.
The facility includes a new gear room, separating this function from the vehicle bays. A chemical decontamination room will allow fire fighting clothing to be cleaned after a call, improving health and safety. New sleeping quarters will provide gender friendly sleeping options, accommodating present and future members of the department. Private showers, restrooms, a laundry area for uniforms, expanded locker rooms and a large kitchen and dining area will enhance the department’s cohesiveness.
“The shift can eat together as a unit,” said Chief Joseph Kearns, an important feature of the new facility he is pleased with.
Fire operations will be consolidated into the new building as well, including the fire prevention office, radio watch room, training facilities, supply storage and the Student Awareness of Fire Education programme (SAFE). Dispatch for the fire department remains at the new Regional Emergency Communications Centre on Whipple Road.
Source: Your Town Crier, Tewksbury Carnation