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Lindenhurst holds meeting about firehouse

The Village of Lindenhurst held an informational meeting last week to discuss what to do about a firehouse the village says needs to be replaced.

Officials say the 1923 firehouse on Wellwood Avenue, which was damaged by a fire in 1978, is too small for modern vehicles. After a recent engineering report commissioned by the village revealed safety issues with the firehouse, the village formed a committee to look into replacing it.

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 roundly rejected a $7.5-million bond for a new house.

Brennan noted the central location of the house — one of four in the village — and the department’s average response time of about five minutes, comparing it to the average response time in the county of more than nine minutes. The number of calls has increased 13 percent from five years ago, he said.

Department Chief Michael DeGregorio said that because of scaffolding installed after the engineer’s study, all vehicles must exit through the back and they often have to be moved around during a call.

“We’re doing the best job we can but we’re being held back a little bit,” he said.

Kevin Koubeck, who inspected the building for ECG Engineering LLC of Smithtown, told the group that the building’s structure “is in bad shape."

“I’ve stepped on a lot of roofs in my 25 years doing this,” he said. “This is the first roof I’ve stepped on where I was scared for my life.”

Some residents at the meeting last week challenged the state of deterioration and questioned whether enough had been done to maintain the building over the years.

Others, like Carol Matthews, 74, want the village to look into rebuilding elsewhere.

“I would just like to see them do more investigating so that we know all of our options,” she said.

Brennan said the committee would present its findings in September.

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