By Seth Daniel
On Monday morning, Engine 50 pulled out of its historic station on the Training Field and closed its doors for the last time in a long time.
There was no fight this time over the closure, nor were there protests to keep the “People’s Fire Station” intact.
That’s because it was all for a good reason, a complete renovation of the structure that will last for about 13 months.
Engine 50 made its way down Main Street around 10 a.m. and parked at the Sullivan Square Station – where it will call home until its historic station is completely renovated inside and out.
Calls are now being answered by Engine 50 from Sullivan Square, and firefighters on the company are resting their heads on the other side of the Town now.
Steve MacDonald of the Boston Fire Department said the move went seamlessly, mostly because they followed the model of previous renovations.
“We have some experience doing these renovations recently,” said MacDonald. “We’re following the procedures we did when we renovated Engine 51 in Oak Square of Brighton. It was closed 13 months for a top to bottom renovation.”
The first order of business when closing a critical structure like a firehouse, he said, is finding temporary space close enough so as not to impact response times.
“It starts with finding a firehouse that has space to handle a fire engine and has space to put four more firefighters inside it and also has the space for gear lockers and personnel lockers,” he said.
He said a shift can have four or five people, and there are four shifts. That means there needs to be 25 gear lockers and 25 personnel lockers and a parking lot to accommodate personal vehicles.
“We were fortunate here that Engine 32 firehouse in Sullivan Square had the room,” he said. “It has the extra bay for an engine and the parking lot behind it, too. It’s not just one shift that needs to park, but on the shift change there can be many more cars there…Sullivan Square had great space available. It was all planned out and we have a facilities manager who was able to work all of that out.”
In addition, the Fire Department’s Information Technology (IT) team has to clear the way for computer access, and office space.
In the end, MacDonald said, the temporary housing will all be well worth it.
He said the exterior of the old firehouse will be upgraded and repaired, while the inside will become much more modern and healthy for firefighter to live and work.