The New Paltz Fire Department is building a newer, larger and more energy efficient firehouse.
Chief Cory Wirthmann of the New Paltz Fire Department said that the plan to build this specific firehouse has been in the works for about five years, but the fire department has been planning to build a new firehouse for the last 30 years. Up until now, the fire department was using two separate firehouses. The goal with the construction of the new firehouse is to have a large enough space to operate solely out of the new one.
“We’ve outgrown our spaces, both of them,” Wirthmann said. The new building will be close to 15,00 square feet and house ten bays, giving the fire department enough room to house all of their trucks.
“The Village and the mayor and all the people who have spent time over the five years planning this have really spent a lot of time making sure that the building we get is one, appropriately sized. Two, [it will be] state of the art,” Wirthmann said. “And three, one really important thing that the mayor’s office is pitching on is that it’s energy efficient.”
This energy efficiency, including strong insulation and the ability to place solar panels, will allow for cleaner energy and reduced energy costs.
The demolition of the old building has been completed. Chief Wirthmann said he hopes the construction on the new firehouse will begin in the last week of November and last about a year.
The other firehouse, commonly known as “Station One,” will be repurposed because it is owned by the Village, which will repurpose it how it sees fit. Chief Wirthmann says it will most likely become office space for things like the billing department, the mayor or the clerk’s office.
The equipment that was housed in the demolished firehouse is now being stored in a Department of Public Works building by a water treatment plant. The Fire Department requested the DPW to temporarily move their equipment so the Fire Department can safely house their fire trucks.
“That’s only because our fire trucks have to be at a certain temperature because they’re filled with water. We can’t have freezing,” Wirthmann said.
However, firehouses aren’t just for housing firetrucks and firefighting gear. They’re also valued spaces where community members and firefighters alike can make memories.
In the initial Facebook post announcing the beginning of the deconstruction of the old firehouse and the construction of the new, Chief Wirthmann wrote: “A lot of memories have been made here at this firehouse and it will be sad to see it go. I grew up in this fire department family and have made many memories myself here! Tip of the helmet and here’s looking forward to a new, much-needed state of the art and energy efficient firehouse.”
“There’s a social side to the fire department,” Wirthmann said, who’s worked as a firefighter for 21 years, but has been around it all his life because his father is a firefighter. “As a kid we used to go there and have firemen barbecues and … you bring your kids, show them the fire truck.”
“We have fun. We bring our families together because we have to be able to trust each other when we’re fire fighting. Those venues like the firehouses become that place for us to gather.”
The approximate timeline goal is that the construction of the new firehouse will be complete in January 2022.