Westover fire department “triples space” in new building

By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer

WESTOVER – Beginning Aug. 1, the Westover Fire Department will move into a new location at 3850 Westover Road where it plans to stay for the next decade.

When the city of Westover set up a fire department in 2007, it rented a temporary location and planned on being there for only a few years, said Westover Mayor Mark McLaughlin. One economic downturn and six years later, the department hadn’t moved.

So when a business owner retired and a lease came open on Westover Road – for a building McLaughlin says has triple the space of the fire department’s current location – they jumped at the opportunity, signing a 10-year lease at the same rate they were paying before.

McLaughlin said the new location is a “big industrial-type building” with enough space for living and sleeping quarters. Since July 1, Westover’s fire and public works departments have been busy renovating it, and on July 23 McLaughlin said the renovations were about 75 percent complete, and the kitchen and showers were “ongoing projects.”

“Now it’s just down to some details,” he said.

McLaughlin also said the fire department has applied for a few grants to help with the cost of building materials for future projects, such as sinks, cabinets and a refrigerator. With the grants, he said they could go ahead and finish those projects. Without them, he said they would finish them over time.

Once complete, the space will have two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a full bath, two half-baths and two bays.

And with all of the programs the department offers – a 24/7 fire department with a 24/7 paramedic, 25 paid and volunteer professional firefighters, eight junior firefighters and a 24/7 on-call chaplain in the works – McLaughlin said it was time for a new, expanded space.

“We have a lot of programs, but we had a very limited space,” he said. “(The new space) is more conducive to what a fire station should be. It allows us to have more room for training, more room for storage, more room to be able to grow with the city – it accomplishes a lot of things.”

Signs won’t be up for another couple of weeks and renovations will continue even after the Aug. 1 move-in date, McLaughlin said. Sometime in late fall or early spring, he said the city would probably host some kind of event for citizens to see the new building.

“We’re going to have something where we can show it off,” he said.