UPPER JAY - The Upper Jay fire station was seriously damaged three years ago as a result of floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
Since then, funding has been secured from multiple sources, including insurance, municipal bonds, fundraising, FEMA and state aid to build a new station.
The new station, located on the Valley Road in the town of Jay across from the town of Jay Highway Department, is almost complete.
Crews continue construction of the new Upper Jay fire station on Valley Road Monday, April 7. (Photo — Charles Potthast Jr.)
The new fire station is substantially bigger and will serve not only the fire department but the whole community.
"The new building is already sparking the interest of perspective new members," said First Assistant Fire Chief Robbie Lincoln. "But we also look forward to letting the community use the building for civic and group functions."
The new structure is about 8,000 square feet, which includes three bays, space for training, meeting, storage, lockers, communications and a kitchen. The total cost of the project is around $2.78 million.
The old fire station, located on Route 9N, was situated in a flood zone. As a result during intense flooding, the fire trucks had to be moved to the town highway garage making the fire station unusable. In essence, the fire station became a victim of the floods.
"In my 30 years with the department, the old station was flooded at least three times," said Fire Commissioner Chris Garrow. "The new station is not in the flood zone and gives us more space for training, staging and sheltering people during emergencies."
The Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department is comprised of 36 members, one pumper/tanker, one tanker, one rescue van and a brush truck. Chief Lincoln describes the department as very active.
"We are fortunate that many of our members are active and well trained," he said.
Garrow and Lincoln each have more than 30 years in the fire service. They are excited that the new facility will allow for more training, including an indoor repelling area. "We look forward to sharing the training area with other local departments," Lincoln said.
They both emphasized that the new structure may be used by community groups as well.
"We will have a commercial kitchen, which will be used to feed people during emergencies and can also be used by local civic groups," Lincoln said.
The Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department will still own the land where the old fire station is located. It is anticipated that the old station will be demolished sometime in the future.
For years, the volunteers have held "Oozeball" tournaments in the summer, a mix of volleyball played in water, which is popular locally. The tournaments will continue to be held in the old location.
Upper Jay's new fire station is scheduled to be completed in May with a grand opening to follow.