A garage bay on the east side of Brunswick Fire Station No. 1 is purely a matter of practicality.
“You don’t want to put a $450,000 fire truck in a $10,000 metal building,” said Brunswick Fire Department Chief Randy Mobley.
The original Gloucester Street fire station was built in 1939, and one additional bay was constructed in-house in the 1980s. Modern fire trucks keep getting bigger, Mobley said, and it’s hard to find trucks to fit in the old bay doors.
“They used to be rounded on the top and a lot smaller,” Mobley said.
One pumper fire truck currently resides in a metal building but needs to be in a heated bay to keep water in the lines from freezing in the winter, which is admittedly less of a concern than it once was.
“I don’t know if global warming is anything, but the winters used to be a lot colder,” Mobley said, recounting the times when firefighters would ride engines by hanging off the back and sides of the trucks. “When we got there, we’d have icicles on our faces.”
Its real purpose is to house another ladder truck, which the city intends to purchase in the future.
Around $350,000 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 money went into the new bay, according to Brunswick City Manager Regina McDuffie, which included a generator to power the whole station. The old generator was 35 years old, Mobley added.
Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey explained the new bay will also allow the fire department to have more trucks at the ready, increasing response time. He looked at the new bay as an investment in the city’s expansion.
It’s a long-term goal, but he said the city wants to build a parking garage for the downtown area in the future. More parking will facilitate growth, which will require better fire coverage.
“We’re can’t really build out, so we’re going to have to build up,” Harvey said.
He said the city still has “quite a ways to go” on a dozen other projects on the city’s SPLOST 2016 list.