PHILLIPS – It’s the fire department’s job to help those in need, but this time it’s the other way around.
The Phillips Fire Department’s station desperately needs an addition built. The building’s cost may be $5,000 or more. Selectmen have given their approval for the addition, but not for the funding.
The station’s two-bay garage is sandwiched between the town garage and NorthStar’s ambulance base at North Franklin Park. Fire Chief Jimmy Gould’s small office was originally a small storage area on the second floor above the garage.
“Anytime the trucks start it is impossible to breathe or hear a conversation. Try talking to a person for a fire permit over a Mack truck – you won’t win,” said Jane Thorndike, an organizer of the fund raising effort.
She points to the lack of storage space for the copious amount of equipment required by the crew. There’s also no place to hold training sessions.
“Regular training is becoming more and more mandated by the state,” said Thorndike of Phillips. “Unless you move trucks outside to make room, but this cannot be done in the colder winter months without running them constantly and costing money for fuel.”
The addition’s plan and the concrete pad are in place.
The fire department and the auxiliary are trying to raise enough money for a training/meeting room, storage, chief’s office, a small kitchenette for the auxiliary to use for food prep and storage to be at the ready for the next fire. Also, a handicap accessible bathroom is part of the addition’s design.
The concrete pad for the addition has already been donated and poured by a generous local citizen. A portion of the pad, originally intended for the station’s addition is being used for the new silo that was installed this week. Voters approved at town meeting the idea of purchasing a wood pellet stove to heat the garage and fire station. The silo will serve as storage for the wood pellets. The old boiler still needs to come out and the new wood pellet stove needs to be installed, which will take up even more space in the station, Thorndike said.
In the meantime, it is hoped that enough money will be raised to at least build the addition’s shell by next spring. To that end, the biannual Chinese auction the auxiliary is holding on Nov. 2 will take on new importance, Thorndike said. The auction, usually used to raise money for auxiliary items or non-town-funded things the department needs, will this time go entirely for the addition.
“We usually get a couple of hundred people at the auctions,” she said. She is hoping there will be even more people who turn out to help or maybe some who would like to help out but can’t make the auction will be willing to send in a donation.
Another way to help out is to donate new or gently used items for the auction. The auction on Nov. 2 will be held at the Phillips Elementary school. Doors open at 10 a.m. and drawing starts at 1 p.m. Fore questions or donations, contact Tammie Gould at 639-4320 (leave a message) or Thorndike at 639-4272 (leave a message) or work at 639-3830.
Thorndike also wanted to mention that members of the fire department will come and check your chimney before the heating season really gets under way. It’s especially important if you’re using the chimney as a new heating source this year. Call 639-3473 for an appointment.