By: Christopher Crosby
OXFORD— Plans to construct a new auxiliary fire station were given a boost after a local millionaire donated the current station and property to the town.
Last Thursday, selectmen approved the donation of the North End Fire Station and its property, situated at the corner of Pottle and Coldwater Brook roads, from real-estate developer Bob Bahre.
Though the town operates fire-rescue services from the building, it has leased the North-end Fire Station, as it is known, since it was built in 1978.
The donation paves the way for the town to begin plans to build a new, updated station in its place that would grant greater flexibility when responding to emergencies, according to Fire Department Chief Scott Hunter.
“If it were suited for personnel to be there during the day, I would split crews at the central fire station,” Hunter said.
The current auxiliary station, smaller and with fewer fire engines than the primary building five miles distant along Route 26 in Oxford, primarily responds to night-time emergency calls. Hunter said the addition of personnel accommodations would allow him to split staff between the two buildings.
The North End Fire Station houses a fire engine and rescue vehicle, which can provide faster emergency service to some parts of town, Hunter said.
For buildings in the area, that has an added bonus of reducing fire insurance rates, Hunter said.
While Bahre allowed the department to use the building as they needed, Hunter said owning the building cleared up legality issues prior to replacing the station.
Town Manager Michael Chammings said the town is looking to expand its services to accommodate a growing population.
Chammings said the building’s limited footprint, which doesn’t allow lateral expansion, presents construction challenges and restricts door width.
Instead, the town will look to build a two-story station and re-purpose the old building for storage.
“It’s a benefit for everybody up there,” Hunter said.
“Bob Bahre has always been generous to this town and been great to work with,” Chammings said.