Orland residents to vote on new, $4 million fire department building Wednesday

Safety, space and age are the main reasons the department is pushing for a new $4 million facility to replace the current 49-year-old building.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 7:08 AM EST
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ORLAND, Maine (WABI) - Orland residents will vote Wednesday on whether or not to approve $4 million to build a new fire station.

It’s close quarters in many ways at the Orland Volunteer Fire Department.

Space is just one of the reasons the department is pushing for a new $4 million facility to replace the current 49-year-old building.

“Right now, if we order a truck it has to be specially-ordered, specially-built in order to fit in the building,” said former Orland Fire Chief John Barlow.

The years-long process leads to a vote on Wednesday. A diverse board went over various outcomes, from contracting with other towns to rebuilding on the current site, but the unanimous pick was an entirely new facility.

“We don’t know what we’d do if that fails,” said Barlow. “But, if we’re going to have a department as we go out into the future, we have to do something.”

Staff says dangers from responding on the job extend inside the department and even at home.

“We come back, things are on us from fire calls,” said Orland Fire Chief Robert Conary. “There’s several cancers now that, the state has determined if you’re a firefighter and you get these types of cancers, it’s automatically determined that you got it while you’re firefighting. Right now, we’re going home to shower which, we’re taking that stuff home with us. Our families are exposed to it.”

“When we are getting back from structure fire calls and need to do that, we need to go out back and get tables that we also use to meet at, in order to take our SCBA apart and clean the different parts and fill the bottles,” said Orland Fire Lieutenant Matthew Gray. “It will just be so much more convenient to have a dedicated space for that.”

The price has gone up but the Fire Department says it won’t get any cheaper down the line.

“It’s sticker shock on the price, even for us, we understand,” Conary said. “Many of us are taxpayers as well, and we’re all unpaid volunteers. We’re just asking for a safe place to do our business.

“Get out and vote!”