July 13. 2016 9:09PM

Nashua's Spit Brook fire station to undergo renovations

Union Leader Correspondent

NASHUA — Aldermen unanimously approved a $1.6 million bond this week to renovate and expand the Spit Brook Road fire station.

“This should have been built in 1977,” Alderman-at-Large Michael O’Brien said of the third bay that will be constructed at the substation with the newly approved funds.

The bond will also be used to install an elevator, replace the roof and create space for a physical fitness area.

According to O’Brien, fire service needs have changed throughout the past decade, and fire crews need adequate working conditions to store their equipment and clean their gear.

The Spit Brook Road fire station was constructed in 1977 to accommodate 15 firefighters, although there are now 36 employees working from the station at 124 Spit Brook Road.

The original facility was intended to have three bays, however the third bay was never constructed.

“This south end of the city has grown exponentially,” Fire Chief Steven Galipeau told the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday. The renovation and expansion project, which has been discussed since 2007, will provide a safer and healthier work environment for firefighters, according to Galipeau.

He added that there will be more storage and space to adequately clean and maintain trucks, apparatus and clothing.

Without the third bay, the department is forced to call a mechanic when a fire truck at the station needs assistance — even during nighttime hours or holidays, said the chief.

Instead of paying a premium price for an on-call mechanic, the third bay will allow a truck from another station to respond and be housed inside, he said. The disabled vehicle can then be serviced the following day during normal business hours, said Galipeau.

In Ward 9, people in need can’t afford to wait for a fire truck or ambulance to come from Lake Street — it could be a life and death situation, said Alderman Ken Siegel, saying the board doesn’t have a choice but to approve the $1,650,000 bond.

“I think we have been very supportive of our fire department,” said Alderman-at-Large David Deane.

It is important to maintain the equipment and continue capital improvements to benefit the fire department, said Deane.

Still, he said RJ Finlay and Co., which recently developed in that area, should have contributed in some way to the fire department because of the increased growth to that sector of the city. Deane said when RJ Finlay built the former Indian Head pink palace office building at 30 Temple St., it purchased a fire truck to compensate for the additional population in the area.