Plans to knock down an aging Lindenhurst Village firehouse and build a new one may be altered after a new engineering study revealed the current structure is sound.
The report by H2M of Melville states the Wellwood Avenue firehouse built in 1923 is in "good to fair condition" and that "critical structural components remain stable and salvageable." The firm concludes with the recommendation of "regular maintenance and various repairs . . . to extend the life of the structure," which suffered significant fire damage in 1978. The report estimated costs for repairs ranging from immediate to long-term at $133,000 to $150,000. The village hired H2M in June for $3,500 to give a second opinion on another firm's findings.
In January, ECG Engineering LLC of Smithtown, which Lindenhurst hired for $7,500, found that the "potential exists for a significant structural failing" and that repairing the building "borders on impossible."
After the report, Mayor Thomas Brennan said the village was leaning toward rebuilding on the site at a cost of $4 million to $5 million. Three years ago residents rejected a $7.5 million bond for a new firehouse in a different location.
As a result of the new report, the village on Tuesday authorized a Request for Proposal to be sent out to architects to perform a feasibility study on whether the existing firehouse can be retrofitted and what that could cost. Village and fire officials have said the building is too small for modern vehicles.
The village also approved paying $2,000 to a New Jersey company to alter scaffolding in front of the building to allow vehicle entry and exit. Since the first engineering report, the village had closed off front vehicle access.
After the initial report, Lindenhurst formed a committee of civic, fire and village officials to examine whether it would be best to rebuild on-site or elsewhere. Brennan had said he hoped to have the committee present options to the public in September, but Deputy Mayor Kevin McCaffrey said that is unlikely now and probably won't occur until later in the fall.
McCaffrey said officials felt more confident in the second engineering report because the company has more experience with firehouse structures. The architect's study will help the committee identify the most cost-effective option for taxpayers, he said. "We want to make sure we turn over every rock," he said.
McCaffrey said that because the firehouse will serve as emergency management headquarters, the village is also applying for a federal homeland security grant. He said grants range from $100,000 to $500,000.