BRIDGEWATER — Town Manager Michael Dutton and the Fire Station Building Committee are pleased to share two videos, produced in partnership with Bridgewater Television (BTV), highlighting the history of the Bridgewater Fire Headquarters and informing viewers of the current building deficiencies.
The videos give community members a look inside the station and the structural and space issues throughout via a walking tour with Fire Chief Michael MacDermott, Deputy Fire Chief John Schlatz and Town Manager Dutton.
The first video gives residents a look at the structural issues of the deteriorating building, such as leaking roofs and water damage, as well as inadequate heat and air conditioning.
In addition, there is a lack of space throughout for records and other administrative materials. New or extra gear and gear for newly hired firefighters is stored in any available space in the station’s administrative offices, and the bays lack proper space for current members’ gear.
Due to the lack of space, the department currently rents a mobile unit that is set up outside the station and serves as the offices for the department’s EMS officer and training officer.
The second video begins by explaining the lack of space at the station for fire vehicles. There are a number of newer and larger vehicles that should be housed in the station, but due to its age and size, the station is not equipped to fit certain vehicles. A lack of space inside the bays has also resulted in damage to some vehicles when certain equipment is deployed.
The size and weight of newer fire engines has caused concrete in the station and outside of the bays to move and collapse, resulting in the need for concrete restoration and replacement in recent years.
Inside the bays, there is insufficient drainage as well as inadequate ventilation to clear the air of fumes from the vehicles, which are hazardous to personnel as well as cause degradation of firefighters’ personal protective equipment.
Structural problems in the bay section of the building include a previous collapse of a portion of the ceiling caused by pooling water, and resulting water damage, as well as an outdated hose tower of which portions have disintegrated and collapsed and been replaced.
About the Project:
The Bridgewater Fire Headquarters, located at 22 School St., has stood since the late 1850s. Today, the fire station serves as headquarters and accommodates over 50 personnel.
In 2019, an ad hoc committee was convened to review the existing station, determine the needs of a modern department, find a potential new station location, and determine how the town can best address the existing station’s deficiencies. A site assessment conducted in April 2021 noted that the current headquarters facility and site does not meet the space needs of the department and is no longer a consideration for continued use as a municipal fire location.
A new station is proposed to be built at 1185 Pleasant St. This location is approximately 2.7 miles from the existing headquarters station and provides better, more accessible fire and EMS coverage for the western area of Bridgewater.
Voters will be asked to approve a $23 million debt exclusion to fund fire facilities projects at the 2022 Annual Town Election on Saturday, April 23. Approximately $2 million of this funding would go toward mechanical and other necessary upgrades at Station 2 (Prattown), which was built in 2000.
For additional information, visit the town’s New Fire Headquarters website.