With any chance of opening a new fire station at least three to five years away, Stoughton officials are looking into the possibility of seeking funds to make much-needed repairs at the in the meantime.
Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster and Fire Chief Mark Dolloff called the conditions there "deplorable" in their appearance before the Board of Selectmen on August 14.
The station, open since 1927, has a myriad of issues.
Ironically, the fire alarm system at the station is faulty and the fire hydrant in front of the building doesn't work properly.
Firefighters who work there counted 27 broken or cracked windows. There is a light fixture on the second floor that has been broken since December of 2008.
The building's exterior and interior both need to be painted, there are multiple cracks in the walls and there are sections of ceiling stained or peeling because of water damage.
It's not handicapped accessible.
Building Maintenance Supervisor Robert Grover put together a list of "major issues" that need to be addressed at the station, with input from Chief Dolloff, including the need to rehab all three restrooms (they have plumbing issues and haven't been updated since the late 1960s); the need to repair roof leaks; the need to replace kitchen cabinets and countertops; the need to repair or replace all floors (sections of the second floor are worn down the wooden sub floor); the need for a new apparatus floor on the first floor with a new drain system; the need to replace all windows and exterior doors; and the need for a new fire alarm system.
According to the list, Grover estimated (noting he was estimating on the high side) that these repairs could cost between $388,000 and $443,000, plus an additional $72,000 to $90,000 to address more "minor issues."
Feaster said he was taken on a tour of the facility and "it became clear to me some of the conditions in which they work are deplorable."
Even though the long-term plan is for a new fire station, Dolloff said there were "major, major structural issues" at Freeman Street and the firefighters and paramedics still need to have a "nice working environment."
Article 48 at the 2010 Town Meeting authorized the town to borrow $610,000 to "perform priority repairs and/or upgrades" to the town hall, Freeman Street Fire Station, Council on Aging, Police Station and Clapp Memorial Building (Historical Society).
Town officials will be looking into how much of that $610,000 was allocated for the fire station.
If there is a special Town Meeting in the fall, there is a possibility articles could be included in the warrant asking to fund the Freeman Street Station repairs.
Selectmen Chairman John Stagnone said the town "needs to focus" on the fire station, but "at the same time keep an eye on the cost because we are looking at [constructing] a new building." He also wanted to know if the building could be used for other purposes once a new fire station was constructed elsewhere in town.
The board will continue its discussion on the Freeman Street station at its next meeting on Aug. 28.
Take a photo tour of the Freeman Street Station in the media gallery of this article.