New Mechanicsville Fire House Set To Open This Fall - Southern Maryland Headline News

New Mechanicsville Fire House Set To Open This Fall



MECHANICSVILLE, Md.—After a slow start and some delays over the winter the new Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department station is set to be finished by late October.

William Smith, the fire company's president, said that it has been challenging to continue to run calls during the razing and reconstruction of the aging building but the volunteers have met that challenge.

The volunteers moved all their apparatus, equipment and communications gear to just two prefabricated steel structures built on the carnival grounds on their property.

"We actually ran emergency services on a daily basis," Smith said. "Fire services have not been impaired.

"But it's been challenging to say the least."

That was one of the biggest points of discussion among volunteers, Smith said, but they chose to undertake the task. "That was the biggest challenge, relocating to another part of the property and working out of those metal buildings," Smith said.

All calls for service have been answered from the original property, Smith said, while all the administrative tasks were moved to company's Golden Beach station farther north.

Tearing down the old station, built back in 1976, was just the first step. The construciton of the new station, which is just onestory with a much larger footprint, ran into delays quickly.

"We couldn't poor concrete during the winter," Smith said. "And the rain in May delayed construction."

The heavy May rains were absorbed quickly, though, because of the sandy conditions on the property, Smith said.

The delays prompted some concern in the community, as well, Smith said.

"A lot of our citizens would call and ask what was going on there, because it seemed like things stopped," Smith said, "There was a lot going on, you just couldn't see it."

The total cost of the project is estimated at $7.3 million, with $2 million coming from a low interest loan from the Maryland State Firemans' Association for a 30-year term.

The volunteers are augmenting that amount with $3 million of their own money as well as $1 million from a revolving loan fund from the Commissioners of St. Mary's County for a 15-year term.

The fire company had solicited funds from the community for the project on the basis that the facility was aging beyond the reasonable ability to repair it and that the volunteers had outgrown the limited space in the two-story building.

The new building is going to be about 17,800 square feet in size with more modern amenities such as new drive-through bays for the apparatus, more sleep space for volunteers, a training tower, a decontamination room for emergency clothing and gear and even radiant heat in the floors of the bays.

The volunteer firefighters selected Manns Woodward Studios to design and W.M. Davis, Inc. to construct the new facility.

Smith said that the amount of calls the company has answered has remained somewhat steady, despite the rebuilding of the station house.

"We're on course for answering 800 calls a year," Smith said.

One of the stated reasons for building the new station was to meet the needs of increasing volume of calls but the records for the station show that they have remained steady for the past several years.

Last year the volunteers ran 884 calls, much more than the 797 calls from 2014. In 2013 they answered 830 calls and the year before that they answered 862.

Smith said the new building could help the company bring in more volunteers; as with many volunteer first responder groups in St. Mary's getting enough new members is a problem.

"We've noticed an incline of people interested because of the new station being built," Smith said, adding that they already have about 10 new volunteers undergoing training now.

Though the transition has been a difficult one the volunteers were able to show that they have not lost a step when it comes to being professional.

At a recent convention of first responders throughout the state in Ocean City, the Mechanicsville volunteers took the top trophy for having the best showing while on parade.

They brought home and now prominently display the Marvin A. Gibbons Memorial Trophy.

Smith said he was especially proud of the showing the volunteers gave given that they are building a new home.

"I don't know how we did it," Smith said. "But the guys worked very hard before the event."

For more information and photos about the new facility, and to follow the progress of construction, visit mvfd.com/content/sta2building/

For more local news stories from the County Times newspapers, visit ct.somd.com/

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