Maine firehouse deemed unsafe, fire trucks removed

The town's insurance company said code violations made it unsafe to house fire equipment; officials said it's going to add 11 minutes to their response times


Sun Journal

LIVERMORE FALLS, Maine — All vehicles but the ladder truck were moved out of the Fire Station as of Thursday morning, as ordered by the town's insurance company, Fire Chief Tim "TD" Hardy said.

A plan is in place for firefighters to coordinate with dispatchers in Androscoggin County who will go to get the trucks if there is an emergency. Trucks will be housed in three places.

The ladder truck will be moved to a private garage on Route 133 when it is ready to accommodate the truck, Hardy said. The insurance company is aware of this, he said.

The town's insurance company required that all trucks be out of the station by Oct. 1.

An engineer conducted a study of the building and discovered several structural deficiencies that were noted in a preliminary report in 2014. Voters in August narrowly rejected a request to build a new station at a cost of up to $750,000. Following the vote, selectmen voted to conduct a site-plan review and a preliminary design for a fire station.

The Fire/Rescue Department's utility pickup was parked outside the building Thursday morning. It will be housed with the ladder truck at a garage on the corner of Karn Road and Route 133. Two fire engines were moved to Jay's No. 2 station in the Chisholm area Wednesday night. Another engine was moved into the Livermore Falls Public Works Department garage, across from the Fire Station.

All truck drivers have been assigned a radio to coordinate truck use with county dispatchers, Hardy said.

He said the trip from the Livermore Falls station to Jay and back is 11 miles. Housing the trucks in Jay will not much affect the response time to the village, Hardy said.

“My concern is for the East Livermore area,” he said. That area borders Wayne, Fayette and Leeds.

“We are going to do the best we can,” he said. “The fortunate thing is the town of Jay has stepped up to help us.”

Jay town officials agreed to allow Livermore Falls to use two bays to store trucks and necessary equipment in its station nearest the town line. Livermore Falls will pay for heat for the station, estimated at $5,000 a year, and half of the quarterly water use, currently just under $50 a quarter.

A big concern of Hardy's is that firefighters will have no place to work when they return from a fire to clean up the trucks and equipment or for training, he said.

“Our plan is to use the Jay station," he said. "It has the ability for us to wash the trucks. (Jay has) gone out of their way to help Livermore Falls.” 

He said the department's plan is to give the new setup a week and then officers will meet to see whether anything needs to be changed.

“Our goal is to make sure we get the trucks on the scene as quick as possible,” he said. “We are going to do whatever we can to make it work and if it doesn't work, we will make adjustments.”

Firefighters will store necessary equipment on the trucks. High-value equipment will be taken out of the station. Some items, such as extra and older hoses, will remain.

As cold weather approaches, the plan is to shut off the water at the station and drain the pipes and the sprinkler system.

The answering machine has been left on and the message includes a cellphone number for nonemergencies. An old cellphone has been activated, which Hardy has and checks daily. That number is 207-320-9171. In an emergency, people must call 911.

No open house will be held at the station for Fire Prevention Week this month, but firefighters will visit schools.

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