Bond Referendum would Authorize Borrowing Funds for Fire Station Addition
Project Designed to Ensure the Safety and Health of Volunteer Firefighters by Providing Space to Accommodate Modern Emergency Apparatus and Decontamination Facilities
CHAPPAQUA, NY (March 2023) – The New Castle Fire District No. 1 has announced that a bond referendum vote will be held April 25 to authorize the Fire District to borrow funds for construction of a 13,000-square-foot addition to the current fire station in Chappaqua.
The modernization and expansion would provide the Fire Department with the space to accommodate modern emergency apparatus and equipment as well as decontamination facilities. It will also ensure the safety and health of the volunteer firefighters of the Chappaqua Fire Department. The project is estimated to cost approximately $15.2 million with construction starting November 2023.
The current fire station, which was built in 1954 and expanded in 1979, is grossly inadequate to meet the legal requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). As a result, current conditions expose Chappaqua and its taxpaying residents to costly litigation in the event of a serious accident or death of a volunteer firefighter.
“The Fire District’s proposal is not what the Fire Commissioners WANT but rather what they are REQUIRED to provide under the law,” said Brian Murphy, Chairman of the Fire District’s Board of Commissioners. “The Fire District has been studying the fire station space needs for nearly 20 years. Since the project was first studied in 2003, construction costs have nearly tripled. The sooner this project begins, the better,” he added.
Based on the 2022 average assessed value of $178,508 for all taxable residential parcels in the Town of New Castle that are served by the New Castle Fire District, the estimated average annual tax increase would be $282. For the parcels in the Town of Mount Pleasant served by the New Castle Fire District, the estimated annual increase would be projected at $225. These estimates are subject to change based on interest rate and other market fluctuations.
Prior studies dating back to 2003 recommend additional bay space to accommodate future needs; drive through bays to accommodate 7 or 8 vehicles; adequate storage space; decontamination capability and bunking for up to 10 firefighters. The current fire station bays are too small for today’s larger and wider apparatus. The space between the modern fire-fighting apparatus in the current fire station is less than 3 feet. A firefighter in gear can barely pass through the bay, creating a dangerous and potentially deadly situation. Studies recommend 8 feet between each piece of apparatus.
Lack of adequate decontamination facilities is another issue to be addressed in the modernization project. When materials burn, they release a number of carcinogens including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Firefighters may also encounter other known carcinogens such as asbestos and diesel exhaust. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “the fire department shall provide for the cleaning of protective clothing and station/work uniforms by a fire department facility that is equipped to handle contaminated clothing. Fire departments shall provide facilities for disinfecting, cleaning, and storage in accordance with NFPA 1581, Standard on Fire Department Infection Control Program.” The current fire station does not have NFPA compliant equipment for disinfecting, cleaning and storage.
The new addition is being designed by Mitchell Associates Architects which has more than 40 years designing buildings and 30 years designing fire stations. The firm has designed 193 public safety projects, 331 facilities and 77 fire station renovation projects. The firm has a full-time staff dedicated solely to fire station and emergency facilities design.
More about the District’s hopes for a fire department addition can also be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/809065743/f90f65b36e
The April 25th vote will be held at the fire station at 491 King Street from 12 noon to 9 pm. For more information about the bond referendum vote and the proposed modernization project, please visit www.ncfd1.org
News courtesy of the New Castle Fire District