Groundbreaking for Caroga firehouse held
The Caroga Lake Volunteer Fire Company, along with representatives from LeChase Construction Company, representatives from C2 Design Group, Environmental Design and local and state elected officials held a ground breaking ceremony on Tuesday for the new fire station on Route 29A that is expected to be complete by December.
“It feels good,” said Chief Howard Dutcher. “We’re still soliciting donations because as you start a project things change, the price goes up and we’re probably a month behind because it was so wet in the spring.”
The project is expected to be complete by December, but he said they probably won’t be able to move into the building until 2021.
Dutcher said the building is due to arrive next week.
He said the pandemic only slowed down plans by a couple weeks, however, the project was mostly slowed due to weather conditions. The area saw some cold, snowy and rainy days in the spring.
“It slowed down this process, once this process is done and the floor is pored, it should move much faster,” Dutcher said.
He said the initial project started in 2006 and it’s taken a long time to get to the ground breaking point.
There has been a need for a new fire station as the current station was built in 1950. With the new station, they will be doubling the size of the truck bay.
The fire company currently have two trailers, a boat and a truck parked outside, and the new station will allow more room to keep them inside.
“That’s important. Stuff lasts longer when we put it inside with this environment,” Dutcher said. “And when we park the trucks we can’t open the doors between the trucks, and now we’ll be able to open the doors. It’ll just be much more functional.”
Dutcher said the fire company’s primary response region encompasses 100 square miles of a rural, all-season recreational area. They provide fire suppression, first responder medical service, wild land fire suppression, search and rescue, extrication, seasonal snow mobile, water and surface ice rescue.
They also provide mutual aid to support five neighboring fire companies through the Fulton County Fire and Emergency medical Services Mutual Aid plans.
“We presently respond annually to about 175 calls,” Dutcher said. “The entire district in which we reside is considered a year-round recreational area with approximately 1,400 year-round residents. That multiplies three to four times that in the summer. Within our jurisdiction there are 38 recreational lakes and ponds, which are utilized for boating, fishing, swimming and snowmobiling.”
The new fire station is costing about $2.3 million, in which the fire company has been raising funds for more than 10 years and is currently still soliciting donations. Over the past 10 years, they have spent about $250,000 for the property, demolition of buildings, cleanup, planning and engineering. The new fire station will help volunteers to serve those best in the community to the best of their ability.
“LeChase is extremely proud to be a part of this project, but more so we’re honored to be part of a team committed to first responders and those dedicated to community servants,” said Mike Corey, account executive of LeChase.
“The real heroes are the people who will be in this building,” said state Sen. Jim Tedisco. ”