The Town of Northbridge has never constructed a Fire Station. The current Fire Headquarters, located at 193 Main Street, is a four story structure that was constructed by the Whitin Machine Works Mill in 1922 as a fleet maintenance shop containing a private fire station for the mill. It was donated to the Town of Northbridge in the 1970’s. It is currently manned around the clock by a minimum crew of four full time firefighters.
The existing Fire Substation, Station 2, was constructed in 1940 by the Rockdale Mill and in 1954 it was also donated to the Town. It is a three bay, two story structure that is currently unmanned. All calls served by this station are responded to by on call fire fighters, adding to the response time.
Both stations are nearing the end of their functional lifetimes. There are signs of structural damage in each that will require further investigation and remediation. The electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems in both stations consist largely of original equipment that have been sporadically updated but still do not meet current codes. There are also significant violations to the life safety and accessibility codes in both stations.
Since that time, changes to the Northbridge Fire Stations have not kept up with advances in fire fighting methods, technologies, and equipment. The Northbridge Fire Department consists of 17 career firefighter/ paramedics and 17 on-call firefighters who responded to 3,193 calls in 2018. Vehicles are larger, heavier, while the size of the apparatus bays has remained the same as when they were constructed resulting in insufficient space for all vehicles. The stations also fail to provide sufficient storage of modern equipment within adequate reach of the vehicles.
Limitations to both stations reduce the possibility of improvement by renovation or additions. Likewise, site concerns remove the possibility of construction on either of the existing sites.
The current feasibility study was undertaken to address the following goals:
Development of a space needs program for the Department to accommodate current and future assets and operations
A review of the conditions of the existing fire stations
An analysis of potential sites which may be utilized for a new facility
Conceptual designs and opinions of probable cost for the construction of a new facility
Recommendations for the most cost-effective and efficient solution to meet Northbridge's needs