Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

SOUTH PORTLAND — Cash Corner Fire Station was recently featured in Firehouse magazine. The Firehouse Station Design Awards recognized the department for its newly designed building.  

The new fire station on Route 1 replaced the single-story, 1970s-era structure. When Deputy Chief Chris Copp was promoted to captain of that building, he was given the project from the standpoint that they were just going to go in and remodel the building.

The building had extensive amounts of mold. Copp said they were going to fix that issue and then remodel, but after meeting with the engineering company Grant Hays, Inc. Architecture and Design, Copp, who has a background in construction saw the price of just fixing the new building and decided to meet with the fire chief, the council and town manager to explain his thoughts.

The remodel was a poor investment and they were already at a $1 million to fix the mold problem. The building was too small and not efficient enough to suit the needs of growing demands. After being approved for a bond request, Mike Hays of Grant Hays, Inc. Architecture and Design, went to work designing the new building.

“He was instrumental in designing all the features into the building that we were looking for,” said Copp. The building is 17,119 square feet and is designed to meet the current and future needs of the community. 

“One of the big key things that we wanted was a training center and teaching center that would allow the crew that was working that day to meet in one central location that would have good AV equipment so that we could have a good training center there, that was one of the components that we wanted built into it,” Copp said. “The second part that I had a lot of influence on was the redesign of one of the stair towers in the building to become a function for not only an emergency exit stair tower but also as a training prop where we could do high angle rope rescue training, we could do hose advancement training, ladder training, rescue through windows off ground ladders.

“In bad weather in the wintertime inside the building attached to this stair tower it has fire hose connections built into it, sand pipe connections built into it and has attachment points for rope rescue, so we can do repelling, high angle rescue, as well as ladder rescuing victims all inside the building so we can do that training safely in bad weather. Also built into that area is a decontamination unit for hazmat. There is a feature where we can bring people back to the station, they can decontaminate themselves and their equipment without actually going into the clean side of the building. The building is laid out with a clean side of the building and a dirty side hazmat is on the dirty side of the building, and you must go through there to get to the clean side. You can shower, change your clothes and wash your equipment.”

Copp said decisions were made with an eye to the future. “Overall, we were just trying to predict what is going to be the need of the city for the next 30-40 years,” he said.

The fire station is prepared for the future and is more ecofriendly with piping underground for electric vehicles. “When we see an influx of electric vehicles, they can add charging stations without having to dig the ground back up,” Copp said. “They have also added solar panels to the roof of the building. “

In 2020, the old building was torn down and although not much could be saved, the new building has a few of the old signs. Copp wanted the building to have a more residential feel. It is also equipped with 10 bedrooms to accommodate call firefighters.  

“The colors were picked by a designer to be soothing colors,” Copp said. “We tried to stay away from red; everyone thinks that firetrucks and fire stations should all be red, but red is actually a color that psychologically keeps you elevated at all times. Up in the living areas we went with designs and décor that was more of a residential feel like wood, carpet and softer colors that kind of lean toward the psychology of letting the guys and girls decompress when they are there.

“There is also a nice kitchen and living area we also have a nice workout facility. Physical fitness in firefighters has become a big thing. We have become very aware that many firefighters die due to heart disease and heart attacks, so that has become a very huge part of our day and lifestyle.”

 

Courtesy photo

 

On May 11, 2021, the $6 million station was unveiled with a ribbon cutting. During the building process, the pandemic arrived in Maine. It could have brought the process to a halt, but Great Falls Construction was able to get the building done earlier while still following the COVID protocols.

For more information and a link to the story in Firehouse magazine, visit the Cash Corner Fire Station page on Facebook. 

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