WILTON — Though the project hit a snag recently and may be delayed a few weeks, the fire department should still have new digs by January.
The Wilton Fire Station, located in the center of town, has been inadequate for some time, according to Selectman Daniel Donovan, and a $1.7 million project was approved by voters to expand the existing building this spring.
"The fire station is over 50 years old and just inadequate for modern equipment," said Donovan.
Firefighters have had to change into their gear behind or between parked fire trucks, there's no ventilation system in place to exhaust fumes when the trucks are running, and there is no place for firefighters to meet in the building, he said. The building also had asbestos and simply "wasn't safe" for the volunteers who serve the town.
Voters decided in March to expand the building, adding more space and renovating the old station. Work began earlier this year. But the project hit a snag about a month ago when it was discovered that more work was needed to ensure the hill behind the building was adequately shored up.
Donovan said the problem wasn't totally unexpected. The building is being built into a hill that overlooks Main Street and is densely populated. To make the plan work, sheet piles are being installed, but that has required digging that hasn't been easy to accomplish because of the proximity to other properties.
"It was a delicate operation," said Donovan. "And now we have these flying-buttress type things built into the building that are going to hold back the wall."
The additional engineering work required to make the fix took a few weeks and slowed progress, Donovan said.
"But we're moving forward rapidly now," he said. "With the increased rate of progress, we hope to be in the building by mid-January, which was our original date, or by the end of January at the latest."