Sanford Fire Chief Steve Benotti stands inside the maintenance bay at Central Station. Because of lack of space, a forestry truck is housed there. Scarce space and a host of other issues have prompted the city to conduct a department-wide assessment of stations, apparatus and more.

Sanford Fire Chief Steve Benotti stands inside the maintenance bay at Central Station. Because of lack of space, a forestry truck is housed there. Scarce space and a host of other issues have prompted the city to conduct a department-wide assessment of stations, apparatus and more.

SANFORD — Two years ago, Sanford Fire Department personnel got together in a “summit” and completed a self-audit in which it looked at its assets and made plans for what it would need in the future.

Now the city is looking to expand on that information. It’s seeking an in-depth study of the department’s operations, apparatus, buildings and personnel in a bid to be better prepared to fulfill current and future needs.

Sanford’s 40-person department responds to 4,000 calls annually, 2,900 of which are emergency medical calls. But its three stations are aging.

While renovated over the years, Springvale Station was built in 1925, and Central Station was build in 1967. The newest building, South Station, which was built in 1988, has a number of deficiencies, and is no longer staffed. Fire Chief Steve Benotti said South Station, a metal structure built on a small budget 28 years ago, has dormant mold in the attic and is far too small to function well.

Handicapped inaccessibility at the stations not only applies to entrances, but to doors and restrooms, he pointed out.

On a tour of Central Station earlier this week, Benotti pointed out that there just isn’t enough space. The administrative offices are small and there are too few of them. There is no designated shower room for female fire and emergency medical personnel and a forestry fire truck is stored in the maintenance bay because there isn’t room for it elsewhere.

“This is the information we’ll use in the planning process,” said Benotti. “We continually do self-audits, but we need an independent view.”

City Manager Steve Buck said the city is taking a long-term approach to planning, and will spread any fiscal impact over a series of years.

“It was the general consensus of the entire group that our present service delivery system is not what it should be because of the traditional response model still being used while trying to absorb all increases in service needs and delivery with a static workforce,” said Buck.

Buck said the study will focus on elements that the city is not equipped to address in-house, including facilities assessments and a feasibility opinion with cost estimates of the number and location of stations, as well as renovation versus new construction.

The study will also examine what type and how much equipment is needed to meet Sanford’s current and future needs as well as the cost, he said.

“The results will be considered starting in the next budgeting process to identify cost savings by amending facilities, equipment and operations,” Buck said.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


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