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Town's fire station deteriorated

November 16, 2000

Town's fire station deteriorated


SHARPSBURG - Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co.'s station is showing its age and officials say they need a new building that can support the weight of the fleet.

Cracks have appeared in the floor and walls of the building, which was constructed in the 1940s with additions put up in the 1950s and 1970s, Chief Jeremy Gay said.

He said the building's bays weren't designed to hold vehicles as heavy as the ones being built today.

A Washington County engineer who inspected the building found that the station's bays are overburdened and will continue to deteriorate, he said.

Periodic settling caused additional damage to the building, he said. Areas in the rear living quarters have cracked and separated from the main building, he said.


Gay said he doesn't know how much longer the building will continue to support the companies fleet of an engine, an engine tanker, a brush unit, a duty vehicle and a special utility vehicle.

A new building would cost the company about $900,000, money it doesn't have, he said.

Fire officials have met with Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook, Del. Chris Shank and others to inform them of the problem and see if the company can work out a way to have the building financed by grants or low-interest loans.

"I think it opened up some eyes," Gay said of the meeting.

Sharpsburg Town Council agreed to hire a grant writer to help the fire company secure a grant or a low-interest loan.

"The town has been very gracious," Gay said.

Gay said the company most likely would build at its existing site, which is less than an acre, because Antietam National Battlefield occupies much of the town's land and other landowners have been unwilling to sell their property.

The new building would have to be double the size of the current station and would include several bays, office area, sleeping and storage area, he said.

The fire company might reconsider merging with nearby Sharpsburg Area Emergency Medical Services to share expenses, according to Gay.

A previous proposal for the companies to merge was abandoned because fire and ambulance officials were unsure whether they would continue to receive individual allotments of funds from the county if they merged, he said.

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