Walpole's temporary Firehouse space
By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter
At the end of October, work had begun on the site of the temporary fire station. As of now, the department has officially moved into their temporary location at 944 C Main Street. When asked about the temporary location, Fire Chief Paul Barry referred to it as, “The white ice cube.” However, he also said that things are “going.” A self-professed “man of few words,” the current situation seems to be serving the department sufficiently.
The new station had to be built simply due to size. “We’re bursting at the seams,” Barry said. “It wasn’t built for a full-time fire department.” The department currently has 34 full time firefighters, paramedics, and chief officers. This past June, the plans for both the new police and fire stations were approved. The new station will be located in the same place where the old one was, on Stone Avenue, will be able to house 12 of the station’s 14 apparatuses. The trucks will be parked back to back to ensure easy exit in case of an emergency.
In addition to the new station, the fire department has had a few other changes as well. Barry was promoted to Chief in a unanimous vote in August of last year. While he may be new to the position, Barry has been with the Walpole fire department since 1995. At the time, he hoped to add up to seven new firefighters. Four were approved by the board in May. At a budget presentation earlier this year, the town had allotted for four new firefighters to be added to the department.
At the budget presentation, Town Administrator James A. Johnson mentioned that the goal is to have the stations complete by the end of 2017. While the temporary space is appreciated, there is definitely an excitement to get in the new space and spread out.