Oak Bluffs fire department moves into new digs

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Oak Bluffs fire fighters were called out Monday night to extinguish a beach grass fire – file photo by Robert Gatchell

Almost a year to the day from the start of construction, the Oak Bluffs fire department moved into the new $8.3 million fire/EMS building on Wing Rd, on Sunday, December 6.

“The 24-hour medics spent the night here last night; we’re officially moved in,” Chief John Rose told The Times on Monday. Mr. Rose said there are still small punch list items to be fixed and computers to be installed but the new 20,250-square-foot, 12-bay station is up and operational.

“It’s a huge boost for morale,” Mr. Rose said. “Everybody is really excited to be here and back under one roof again.”

During the year-long construction period, the department operated out of the highway barn on County Road with half of the ambulances working out of a lot on Wing Rd. “We didn’t have a place to hold meetings, the trucks and the ambulances weren’t all together. It was tricky but we made it work.”

Selectman Walter Vail, who is also on the fire station committee, told selectmen at their last meeting on December 1 that the station is coming in on time and on budget, which he noted is particularly impressive given the epic winter of 2015.

Although the town voters overwhelmingly approved an $8.3 million debt exclusion to finance the new building at 2014 town meeting by voice vote, it passed by only six votes (421-415) at the ballot box at town election.

There will be a formal dedication ceremony on Tuesday, December 15 at 1 pm, with an open house to follow.