A new firehouse on Laurel Road will help the East Northport Fire Department better serve its residents north of the Long Island Rail Road tracks, according to fire officials.
The department broke ground on the $1.8 million substation at 202 Laurel Rd. in September, and aims to complete the station by April. The fire department has two other stations south of the LIRR tracks.
The long-planned station building was paid for with about $100,000 in state grants and the fire district's reserve funds, said East Northport fire district manager Joseph Ervin. "We had actually gotten some help from (former state Sen. Carl) Marcellino who got us some state grants. We've been saving some money to make the project — we didn't want to bond the project. And we're putting up a pre-engineered building to try to save costs and just make it more efficient for the taxpayers without having to go out for a bond."
The pre-engineered Morton building will be built to order in sections and assembled on site — other fire departments such as Dix Hills and Kings Park have the same type of building, Ervin said. The pre-engineered building will be much cheaper than building on site, compared with the nearly $7 million that the East Northport Fire Department's station on Clay Pitts Road cost a decade ago, Ervin said.
The one-story building will have four bays for a fire truck and an ambulance. The volunteer department has roughly 110 firefighters who respond to about 3,000 calls yearly for about 22,000 residents in the coverage area, Ervin said.
A spokesman for the Firemen's Association of the State of New York said having multiple substations in a fire district helps with response time.
"One of the most advantageous things of having a volunteer fire service is we have men and women living in the community responding to emergencies. But to keep that advantage of having your neighbor be able to respond to a firehouse and get to your home quickly, we need to have the firehouses near where the firefighters live," said FASNY's Robert Leonard in a phone interview. "Sometimes there are challenges such as major roadways, railroad crossings in this case, traffic patterns that will have a fire department or fire districts look at adding a facility or re-siting a facility to better enhance their response."
"The Firemen's Association of the State of New York supports any efforts that are made to decrease firefighter response time and fire apparatus response time by adding facilities and placing them in advantageous positions," Leonard said.
The department's current average response time is between five and seven minutes, Ervin said.
Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said "seconds matter" when it comes to emergency response.
"This new fire station will enable the East Northport Fire Department to ... serve as a great comfort to residents and businesses north of the train tracks," Lupinacci said in an emailed statement.
The East Northport Fire Department will have three firehouses:
1 Ninth Ave.
360 Clay Pitts Rd.
202 Laurel Rd.