Salisbury Fire Station 2 headed for spring completion

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(Todd Dudek Photo)

In a lightly traveled part of Salisbury, among a collection of warehouses, homes and business, the structural pieces for a new, fully modern fire station are rising skyward.

Covering about 14,000 square feet and costing $4.1 million, the new Fire Station No. 2 will replace the existing firehouse that was constructed in 1930.

In Salisbury, a city that has essentially burned to the ground twice in its history, fire service is an important community component. The new station at Brown and Naylor streets is seen as another step in affirming that historical importance.

Fire Chief Rick Hoppes is audibly enthusiastic about the project. “It’s progressing very well,” he said this week. “We are really excited. This is a chance to move out of a 1930s building ─ we’ve been there 86 years ─ into a fully functioning modern fire station.”

With the exception of a garage-like addition in the 1980s, the old Station 2 has largely remained unchanged. One of its chief flaws is that it is no longer structurally sound enough to serve as a public evacuation shelter in bad weather.

“The new station will be prepared to withstand severe storm weather,” said Hoppes. “The current building is unsafe in stormforce weather.”

Station 2 has a reputation for its proud and sometimes rebellious volunteer ranks. A decade ago, members talked openly about seizing the station from the city and forming their own separate fire service. That rebellion was calmed after volunteers elected new leadership.

Hoppes, who wasn’t chief during that period, said the new station will be appreciated by both paid personnel and the all-important volunteers.

The station is on track to open this spring. The old building will be razed.

Salisbury’s Fire Department is staffed by 64 career and 120 volunteer and trained firefighters and paramedics.

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Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at gbassett@newszap.com

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