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Carolina Beach Fire Department Holds Ground Breaking For Station

The Carolina Beach Fire Department held a ground breaking ceremony for a $1.3 million dollar station expansion project on Monday night June 24th. The hosted local elected leaders, Town officials, members of the fire department and their families. The project is expected to begin soon and be completed within nine months.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Fire Department held a ground breaking ceremony on June 24th, for an upcoming $1.3 million dollar project to expand their existing station at the intersection of Dow Road and Charlotte Avenue.
The project has been on the drawing board for several years. The Council approved funding for the project earlier this month when adopting the budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 starting July 1st.
The Town advertised for bids from contractors for expansion of the existing Fire Department at Dow Road and Cape Fear Blvd. The deadline to submit bids was April.
Ten companies bid on the project. The Town's Engineering firm, Engineering Services PA of Garner North Carolina, recommended WECC of Fayetteville, NC in the amount of $1,045,900.
The Council approved awarding the bid to WECC at their May 28th meeting.
The project includes the construction of a 5,785 square foot expansion to the existing fire department building, with a 70’ wide by 76’ deep pre-engineered metal building, adding four truck bays, sprinkler system and renovations to the existing facility. Phase Two of the project consist of renovations to the existing 7,488 square foot building after the Phase One addition is complete. Some of those items include converting the existing truck bays #1 and #2 to a classroom, renovations to the conference rooms, installing sprinkler fire suppression system throughout the existing structure and other renovations.
In this year's 2012-2013 fiscal budget, the Council budgeted for a $900,000 project with annual debt service at $84,000 a year for 15 years.
In recent years upgrades have been made to the facility after taking over the station from New Hanover County years ago.
Most recently the Department purchased adjacent land for expansion including a house on Cape Fear Blvd that serves as quarters for firefighters while on duty. That was part of a program that added full time fire fighters to the Department.
They also completed an upgrade to the second story of the station for additional sleeping quarters.
One reason for the expansion, the department has a 32' truck parked in a 34' foot bay and have hit the wall several times. It's a tight fit because over the years newer model fire trucks have increased in size.
Fire Chief Alan Griffin said, "Over the past three years our guys worked in house to start a renovation process and then to get to today of actually breaking ground and trying to do what we think will better serve the community. It will better serve us from a safety standpoint."
Griffin talked about the need for expanding the station to accommodate their new fire truck which barely fits in the building.
Deputy Chief Granger Soward said the department was founded in the mid 1920's and was once located in what is now Britt's Donuts on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. The station later relocated to the old Town Hall across from the Marina built in early 1930's. Following flooding from Hurricane Fran in the late 1990's the station moved to a commercial garage and later to their current location which was the former Federal Point Fire Department.
The Town Council was joined by Chief Griffin and the members of the Fire Department to break ground on the project. Mayor and Council used gold painted shovels to turn the first dirt for the project.