SACO – At 8 a.m. Thursday, firetrucks and ambulances pulled out of the fire station on Thornton Avenue for the last time, headed to their new home on North Street.

Five minutes after they pulled into the new central station, the first medical call came in.

As movers continued to deliver furniture, firefighters said they were excited about the move, albeit a bit nostalgic already for the old station, which was built in 1936.

“I have mixed emotions,” said District Chief Mark Willett, who has been with the department for 47 years. He fondly recalled sitting out front on warm summer nights, drinking ice tea and watching co-workers’ children grow up.

Capt. Michael Goulet, a 30-year veteran of the department, grew up next door to the old station. He said his daughter learned her multiplication tables on the chalkboard there.

“There are a lot of memories here,” Goulet said, perched on the front bumper of a firetruck with a few colleagues, minutes before leaving the old station.

The fate of the old station remains unclear. It will be decommissioned April 30 and put on the market for sale. It is eligible for historic preservation.

City councilors voted 5-2 Monday to list the property for $475,000 for four months through CBRE/The Boulos Co.

The new station, to be dedicated April 30, was built because voters agreed to borrow $5.9 million, to be paid back with revenue from the city’s ambulance service.

Its 14-foot-wide bays are roomier than the 10-foot bays at the Thornton Avenue station, and it has modern on-site training areas for rescue workers.

The design separates “hazardous areas” — exhaust from the trucks, biohazard materials from calls, and tool and work rooms — from the living and administrative areas in the building.

“We’ve created spaces to put things in their proper place,” said Fire Chief John Duross.

The 22,000-square-foot building is about one-third larger than the old station, which allows for some growth in the department, Duross said.

With geothermal heating and cooling and solar panels to heat the water, the building reduces the department’s carbon footprint and will easily meet LEED silver certification standards, he said.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

[email protected]

 


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