All 11 members of NewburghÕs volunteer fire department quit their jobs during MondayÕs selectmenÕs meeting, officials said. The selectmen were meeting to vote whether to reinstate former Chief Glen Williamson, who officially resigned in August. During the meeting, the firefighters presented the selectmen with a list of demands, which were rejected, according to a statement from the town. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

Newburgh residents will consider spending up to $2.3 million to build a new fire station during their annual town meeting this month.

If approved, the new fire station would replace the town’s aging station that, according to an inspector, is in need of extensive and expensive renovations and maintenance. The new station would become part of a municipal complex at the former Newburgh Elementary School, where the town office and a pre-kindergarten program are located.

First, residents will be asked to allow the town to take out a loan of up to $1.7 million for the project. Residents will then vote on whether the town can use up to $600,000 from its undesignated fund balance to build a new fire station.

The town meeting will take place on Thursday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the town office.

Newburgh selectmen wrote in the 2022 town report that they have a preliminary design and floor plan for the new station and are seeking project estimates. They hope construction can begin in spring 2023.

The new fire station would be built in the front portion of the shuttered Newburgh Elementary School on Western Avenue, according to Fire Chief Brant Somers.

The town bought the school from Regional School Unit 22 for $1 earlier this year. The property houses Newburgh’s municipal offices and is home to an RSU 22 pre-kindergarten program.

Using the property to house the fire station as well would “create a municipal town center,” Town Manager Cynthia Grant said.

Grant said the town has applied for a grant to support the project, but the town won’t know whether it’s been awarded funding “for some time.”

The existing station “has covered us for many years and the time has come that it is no longer in a position to continue to fix,” Somers wrote in the town report.

Keith Brown, an engineer from Washburn-based Criterium Brown Engineers, conducted a  structural and mechanical inspection of the existing fire station in March 2017. In his report, available on the town website, Brown wrote that the building is in “below average condition.”

Brown noted, however, that the inspection was based on visual evidence and more invasive tests were not performed. Brown, for example, didn’t test for mold or indoor air quality, or determine whether the building was up to code.

The existing fire station has four vehicle bays, a kitchenette, two storage areas, a meeting room and a single restroom.

It was designed and built by volunteers who used materials that were available — and likely donated — at the time, according to Brown.

“This was a commendable project for those who constructed it, and these persons can be proud of their accomplishment,” Brown wrote. “The building is aging, however, and building standards (especially emergency services standards) change with the times.”

Brown found “significant” structural rot on several sections of the building’s exterior.

He recommended that the town make structural repairs and improvements to the building’s chimney, roof and exterior siding.

In addition to the building’s deficiencies, Brown strongly recommended a fire and security system be installed in the building, as it didn’t have one in place.

“Given its current condition and the building location, a structure fire could develop long before being detected,” Brown wrote.

It’s unclear whether the town completed any of the recommended improvements following the 2017 inspection.

Somers did not respond to requests for comment Friday or Monday morning.

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Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...