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Ridge fire district voters approve $14M bond to build new firehouse

Ridge fire district residents voted on a $14

Ridge fire district residents voted on a $14 million bond to replace the department's firehouse on Tuesday. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Ridge fire district voters on Tuesday approved a $14 million bond proposition to build a new firehouse.

District residents voted 527-104 to replace the fire department's Francis Mooney Drive headquarters, which Ridge officials said posed a danger to firefighters because of narrow truck bays and other problems.

Jeffrey Campo, chairman of the Ridge board of fire commissioners, said Wednesday construction is expected to start next summer on the new 24,000-square-foot facility. He said construction would last about 18 months.

The bond will increase fire district annual taxes by $178.09 on an average home assessed at $2,215, according to fire district officials.

“The support we got was tremendous," Campo said, adding voter turnout was strong. "We had a lot of people up here awaiting the results. ... I’m very happy we got the turnout we did. It just shows we reached out to the community in every avenue possible.”

The current 19,000-square-foot headquarters will be demolished. District officials have said the facility, built in 1941 and expanded in the 1960s and 1980s, is obsolete, cramped and prone to roof leaks. Firefighters currently change into their gear in bays, just a few inches from trucks as they prepare to respond to calls, officials said.

The new firehouse will be constructed on the site of the current facility and will have new storage space and a separate room where firefighters can change into their gear, district officials said.

Campo said the new facility will have a training room and space for the department's emergency medical technicians. Truck bays will be wider, and the new building will have a washer and dryer system to clean fire gear of contaminants that collect on firefighter uniforms.

During construction, the fire department will move to its substations and possibly to a third location, where temporary shelters would be constructed, Campo said.

Officials plan to have new truck bays built by late 2019 so that trucks can be moved there before winter, Campo said.

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