Aging fire stations get spa treatment

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Makeover money used to revive structures from 1966 and 1984

By Vicky Gits

In September, the Evergreen Fire Protection District finished updating two of its oldest fire stations after a lengthy period of what could be called deferred maintenance.

The fire department budgeted a total of $75,000 for the combined renovation, which came in under budget at $30,285 for No. 4 and $19,897 for No. 1. Former board member Lloyd See last spring championed the renovation project, which was executed under Fire Chief Garry DeJong.

Chris Schleeth, facilities superintendent, completed a lot of the work with his own hands and with help of EMS staff and volunteers, who helped with minor repairs, heavy lifting and taking out old carpet. Outside contractors finished the painting and carpet installations.

In the words of one emergency medical technician from Station 4, Stacey McCarthy, it’s good to have clean surroundings. “It feels clean. It smells clean. I can walk around without my shoes again,” McCarthy said Nov. 25.

Paramedic Larry Ferree, who has spent 18 years working out of Station No. 4, said the building had the same carpet as long as he could remember, until now. In high-traffic areas it was worn down to the threads. The paint on the walls was the same vintage as the carpet.

The cedar-siding exterior hadn’t been stained in about 10 years, and it took two coats to of paint to fully cover it.

These days Ferree is in the relative lap of luxury, enjoying the spotless dusty-mauve commercial carpeting, a new mattress for his sleep cubicle, and a new sofa suite in leather-like vinyl. The former, wobbly computer hutches have been replaced with sturdy, previously used office-type desks.

The vehicle bay, which holds two ambulances, got a fresh coat of white paint and special waterproof wall treatment from the ground to about halfway up the wall, Ferree said. That means the vehicles can be washed in the winter without ruining the walls.

Paramedics and EMTs spend 24-hour shifts at the station, which is situated on Highway 73 about a mile and a half from Evergreen. All of the emergency medical and ambulance calls in the district go out of stations 4 and 7, said Nick Boukas, emergency services chief of Evergreen Fire/Rescue.

Someone donated a refrigerator-size big-screen TV to the fire department a few years ago. It was so enormous the firefighters had to haul it up to the second floor using a system of ropes and pulleys, Boukas recalled.

No. 1 returns to station status

After serving as the headquarters station since 1966 and then being vacated in 2004 for a new building on Bergen Parkway, the future of Station 1 was in limbo for several years.

Ultimately, district officials decided to return it to fire-station status and keep it as a vehicle garage and meeting place because of its central location.

The oldest of the district’s eight fire stations, No. 1 benefited from a roof resurfacing, new wall-to-wall carpeting on the second floor and new kitchen countertops in the living area. The exterior was repainted and the junk items removed, except for a couple of homely, second-hand couches, whose good days are long over.

No. 1 is closest to downtown, just off Highway 73. It is mainly used as a vehicle storage compound, but there is a working dispatch room that could be used in an emergency.

Station 1 formerly housed the communications department and the administrative headquarters before everything moved to Station 2 on Bergen Parkway.

The facility has about 2,000 square feet of living space, which has been restored to good enough condition to serve as a volunteer or officer meeting place. Boukas described its old look as “pretty drab. The big thing was the paint and carpet.”