Ocean City (MD) Prepares New Fire Station

Ocean City is putting the finishing touches on its newest fire station, one built to better suit the needs of a modern and growing resort.

The new Station 4 is a 12,000-square-foot, two-story facility with three engine bays. It includes live-in space to accommodate several firefighters, comes with an exercise room, and more space for storage and apparatus. Architecturally, it reflects the area’s coastal style and includes a cupola evocative of a lighthouse.

Ocean City Fire Chief Chris Larmore has said he hopes to improve each of the department’s five stations, and had wanted to start with Station 4 because of the building’s age and need for renovation, as well as its proximity to several residential neighborhoods and high-rise buildings.

Planning for this building, including securing bond money, started in 2008. Firefighters had outgrown the old facility, and needed more engine bay space and living space. The old building also was located under the flood line. The town decided it made more sense to rebuild than renovate.

Construction began in October 2013 with the demolition of the old building. Challenges with weather and with subcontractors led to delays in construction, said City Engineer Terry McGean. He said the contractor, the firm of Gillis Gilkerson, made up for it with weekend and overtime work so they wouldn’t fall too far behind. The final walk-through with the architect, Design Atlantic, will come this week.

The peaked engine bay roof can accommodate tower trucks, and a wide catwalk across the three bays will be used for storage. The engine bay will be heated with a system of recirculating hot water in pipes embedded beneath the concrete floor. Its six garage doors, comprised of glass panels, allow for plenty of light to come into the engine bay and for passers-by to see the firetrucks inside.

Additional safety considerations, which the old building lacked, include a decontamination space where firefighters coming back from fires can clean up, and not track debris into the living quarters. The engine bay also comes with a Plymovent air cleaner which ventilates fire truck exhaust.

The fire company started a live-in program a few years ago, and this new building continues that, with four dorm rooms on the second floor for volunteer firefighters. The upstairs also comes with a full kitchen and washer-dryer. Full-time firefighters will have their own bunk room on the ground floor.

For more information, view www.delmarvanow.com

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