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A hot idea for an aging fire station

The Barnstable Fire Department is about to turn 90. And it's running out of room to accommodate staff and fire trucks.

BARNSTABLE VILLAGE—Rather than remodel its station again, the fire district is pushing to build a new one about a mile away from where it has operated since 1935.

The district, which combines the town's fire department and water department, was formed after the jail burned to the ground. Today the Barnstable Fire Department serves about 5,000 residents in Cummaquid and nearby areas, and handles 1,800 calls a year.

But the red station at the heart of Barnstable Village isn't big enough to accommodate growth over the next 50 years, Fire Chief Chris Beal told Morning Edition's Patrick Flanary.

"We've pretty much outgrown it due to the large call volume," Beal said. "The next move for us is to make our station more adequate for our increased staffing."

A committee of Fire District residents last fall considered options including remodeling or adding a station. The group recommended that a new, ADA-accessible station would better accommodate the district's 21 firefighters and officers as the town's population and development expand.

"We're trying to stay ahead of the curve," said Beal, a 23-year veteran of the department. "We have to provide the service that everyone is asking for; we just have a lot more people to service."

Under the preliminary plan, a fire station would replace the Water Department's office on Phinney's Lane, with that office relocating to the existing station on Main Street. The existing building would also be repurposed into a community space.

Funding for the design will be up for approval at the Fire District meeting in May.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.