It will eventually be out with the old and in with a new firehouse in Rocky Point.
The Rocky Point Fire District set in motion June 7 a long-term project that will replace its decades-old North Beach Company 2 firehouse, at 90 King Road, with a new, updated one that will better meet the needs of the modern firefighter.
According to District Vice Chairman Kirk Johnson, the proposed building project will not expand on the current firehouse’s footprint but reconfigure its floorplan.
Major, out-of-date, infrastructure — including heating systems — will be replaced, and accommodations will be made for safety requirements, larger equipment and apparatus needs, and mandatory handicap-accessibility — none of which were factors when the firehouse was built in the 1950s.
“This enables us to continue the service we’re already providing well into the future,” Johnson said. “It’s just a more modern, environmentally-conscious building that will be able to run over the next 20, 30 years. And overall safety to our members is one of our main focuses with the new building.”
Johnson, joined by district commissioners Anthony Gallino, David Brewer and Gene Buchner, met at the administrative office in Shoreham and unanimously voted to approve a State Environmental Quality Review Act expenditure of $2,500, a required fee in the preliminary planning of any privately or publicly sponsored action in New York, with a considerable focus on the environmental impacts of a project.
The funds will go to Nelson & Pope, a Melville-based engineering and surveying firm, whose associates will help with planning, designing and completing the projects on-schedule and within budget.
By authorizing the fee, the district’s first step in the process, it propels the necessary studies to get the project off the ground. No budgets have yet been drafted.
“We’re at the mercy of certain phases which are out of our control, but we’d like to get it moving as expeditiously as possible,” Johnson said.
Renovations to the building have long been discussed by members of the Rocky Point district — with more than 2,000 calls a year in the department, split between EMS and fire calls, and equipment upgrades and training requirements increasing on a regular basis due to mandatory standards set by the National Fire Protection Association, the firehouse’s physical restrictions have become more obvious.
“With the age of this building, a lot of equipment is currently outgrowing current structures,” Gallino said. “Thirty years ago there was plenty of room, but now, trucks have had to get bigger, equipment needs have gotten bigger and firefighters literally can’t change their clothes.”
He added firemen are currently changing between a steel pillar and a fire struck that’s about to start rolling, and doorways to get through to the different rooms are only 10-feet high.
“Back in the day, the apparatuses were smaller and now we’re limited on what we can do to raise those doors,” Gallino said. “Some of the advanced firefighting apparatuses we’ve been looking at will be difficult to get into the building … it just needs to be replaced.”