LEBANON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Fire and rescue crews in the Southern Maine town of Lebanon say it’s getting more and more difficult to be stationed in the aging building that houses the fire department.
They may be in a small town, but they provide a big service. Last month alone they responded to 45 calls for service.
Fire Chief Dan Meehan says the problems started in one of the largest rooms in the building. It was used for training sessions and meetings. Now it’s off limits, after being condemned by the town's code enforcement officer. After the floor started sagging, work crews dug a big hole into it to find out why.
“That’s when we found there was really no support under the building. So now that’s becoming an issue", Chief Meehan said.
And the problems don’t end there. The bay doors don’t lift high enough to fit standard sized fire trucks, so the trucks have to be specially designed.
The building has no shower facilities, leaving crews to clean the soot and smoke reside off of them, at the scene.
“Cancer causing material, it’s really toxic. So before we jump in a vehicle with any of that on our gear, we take a fire hose and kind of shower each other off”, said Fire and EMS member Windy Rudnicki.
The chief says he’s in preliminary talks with town selectmen, who have been supportive of his idea for a new station. He says people who serve the public should at least have decent working conditions.
“We got a good crew, but they pay the brunt of it, not having an area to really train in, hold meetings in. They’re basically confined in a small office for their shift”, he said.
Even if the community supports a new fire house, it will take years for it be constructed. In the meantime, Lebanon Fire and Rescue crews will have to continue working under some tough conditions.