Vestal plans for new fire station

By Michelle Costanza

April 7, 2014 Updated Apr 7, 2014 at 11:43 PM EST

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Vestal Fire Department could be getting a new building to replace the out-of-date and deteriorating Station Four.

The current station, located atop Bunn Hill Road on the Vestal Parkway is more than 60 years old and is showing signs of cracking and other structural deficiencies.

Another major problem: It's size.

"We've simply outgrown it. We have a 12-foot path in front of the engine, with the space for the ladder. It's straight up against the back of the building," explained Lieutenant Chuck Paffie.

While the project to demolish the current station and build a new one is not a new idea, it is still the very beginning of what could be a long and costly process.

Preliminary schematics of a single-story building -- including bays for six trucks, offices, bunks and other essential rooms -- is estimated at nearly $4.4 million. That price tag includes the demolition of the current Station Four, as well as the new construction.

With 30 to 40 firefighters working out of Station Four on a regular basis, that number grows exponentially during emergencies.

"During the flood, the other stations were isolated. Guys were sleeping in chairs, there wasn't enough room to even get them out of the flow of things. Everyone ends up here," said Paffie of the station.

Fire officials said they hope to build for the future -- future staff, future engines and equipment and future emergencies.

"We want to be prepared," Paffie said. "This needs to serve the public for the next 50-plus years."

The tentative timeline would put groundbreaking in 2015 and completion in 2016.

The project will require public approval. A date for a future levy has not been determined.

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