STANDISH – Officials in Standish are looking to Sebago voters to approve at this year’s town meeting the construction of a new fire station that emergency personnel say would improve response times in the neighboring communities.

“It is still very early in the process,” said Standish Fire/EMS Chief Brent Libby. “But if the voters of Sebago approve this, we will be looking at sharing a new station with them in 2013.”

If voters do approve funding for a new firehouse in Sebago at this year’s annual town meeting, Standish will pay for a portion of the construction and in return be able to house a Sebago engine in the new garage.

“It will allow us to cut down on response time and better serve both towns,” said Libby.

It takes Standish approximately 12 minutes to travel from the station on Route 35 at the town offices complex to the Ward’s Cove area, just before the Sebago town line. According to Libby, the ultimate goal for a fire department is to have a truck within a five-mile radius of all areas in town, a goal that in rural areas is often hard to realize. By positioning an engine in Sebago, response time in the area would be drastically cut as would expenses for both towns, Libby said.

“It saves Standish from having to build our own station in that area and it provides funds to Sebago to allow them to have a newer building,” said Libby.

The agreement with Sebago would be similar to the agreement Standish already has with the town of Gorham. The towns share the costs of equipment and personnel at the North Gorham station located on Standish Neck Road on the Gorham/Standish line. That station covers Area Four, also known as the Whites Bridge Road area.

Before joining with Gorham in 1989 the closest fire station was 10 miles away, seriously limiting response time to emergency calls. Libby says the town is hopeful merging with Sebago will be just as beneficial.

“We have already been working with the Sebago for years,” said Libby. “I think joining together in one station will help close the gaps we need filled.”

Sebago officials did not return phone calls before deadline.

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