News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, October 25, 2018
Surry Fire Department expansion cures many ills
Open House October 29, 6 p.m.

A bigger fire department for Surry

MacKenzie and James Black, son and daughter to Fire Chief Richard Black, contribute to keeping the newly finished Surry Fire Department expansion spic and span. A $700,000 expansion to the Surry Fire Department completed earlier this month effectively doubles the space and addresses issues plaguing firefighters and staff in the adjoining town office.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

An expansion to the Surry Fire Department has addressed several issues plaguing firefighters and town office staff for years. And the project came in well under budget, costing about $150,000 less than the $850,000 approved by voters in 2017.

“We couldn’t be more pleased,” Chairman of Selectmen Bill Matlock said.

The expansion includes a radio room, offices, a kitchen and meeting/training room and a mezzanine, and added enough square footage so that firefighters don’t have to drive the firetrucks outside for inspection in winter.

A new, pressurized ventilation system keeps exhaust fumes from entering the adjoining town offices, a common occurrence before the addition, and the exhaust fan automatically kicks in when a fire truck starts its engine.

The storage space in the new mezzanine includes a locked cage for town documents and will free up significant space in the town office, Fire Chief Richard Black said.

Firefighters have already completed training activities in the new space—and brewed coffee in the kitchen instead of having to “borrow” the town office.

“We have a highly motivated fire department,” Matlock said. “We’re glad we could give them a space they desire.”

Black said his firefighters love the addition. “Training has been phenomenal,” he added.

The project also included a new roof and heating system for the entire building, an upgraded generator, repaired and new vinyl siding, and an exterior paint job for the entire building.

Selectmen and Black had only praise for Nichols Construction Inc., of Bangor, who completed the project earlier this month, and for architects Design Group Collaborative, who presented the plan at a special town meeting in 2017.

A ribbon cutting will be held at 6 p.m. on October 29, featuring a fire hose and the Jaws of Life, followed by an open house, with refreshments, a 50/50 raffle, door prizes, ice cream donated by Pugnuts, and sign up sheets to join the department as a volunteer firefighter.