The East Greenwich Town Council voted 5-0 Monday night to allow the Fire Department’s contractor to seek bids on reconstructing part of the floor at Station One on Main Street. SGH, the engineering company working with the town, estimated the cost to fix the floor at $245,000.
The fire department has avoided parking larger trucks on that half of the garage for more than a year, due to concerns over the floor’s stability. The floor has cracks and, below the floor, the ceiling is rusting and failing.
In 2013, the former EG Fire District had set aside $100,000 to repair the floor (the independent fire district became a town department last June).
“That was just me and the fire chief guessing,” said Chief Russ McGillivray Monday night, referring to the initial estimate put together with former Chief Peter Henrikson. “This is a much more scientific estimate.”
SGH’s plan calls for demolishing the floor on the south end of the station and replacing it with 6 inches of solid concrete.
McGillivray said the floor was last replaced in 1980, but that it hadn’t been engineered to accommodate the weight of today’s trucks.
“The truck are much larger and carry a lot more equipment. For example the average fire truck carried just 500 gallons of water, where now many fire engines carry upwards of 750 to 1000 gallons,” he said via email Tuesday. “Also both of engines carry the ‘Jaws of Life’ and other such rescue equipment that adds to the overall weight of the vehicles.”
He said the problem with the floor was called “deflection.” “It would push the floor down and push it up. It made cracks in the concrete. The salt and the water got in and destroyed all the interior reinforcement bars.”
The new floor, he said, would essentially be a bridge.
The work should take six to eight weeks, according to McGillivray, and could take place as soon as May or June.
“The only issue we really have is we have to move the dispatch room from where it is and put it in the back room during the day while they jackhammer. It’s going to be really noisy.”
Another idea, to expand Station Two on Frenchtown Road by adding a second floor, has been put on the back burner for now, said McGillivray. “That’s the 10-year plan.”