“It’s very spacious and modern,” said Deputy Chief Mario Villeneuve, regarding the main impression that he and other firefighters have about their new station.Construction work on the new Station 3 for the Clarence-Rockland Fire Department occupied the past couple of years after final design and budget approval for the project. The building design also includes an annex for the new Rockland ambulance station.
Deputy Chief Villeneuve noted that moving into their new quarters actually began in mid-February, or “just pre-COVID” as he puts it, with immediate relocation of all the trucks and the main firefighting gear into the truck area while final touches on the meeting rooms and such were winding up.
“It was cramped quarters for awhile,” he said. “But it was still better than being in the old hall.”
The four-bay vehicle area of the new caserne was spacious enough for all of the trucks and the emergency van and still leave plenty of storage space for the firefighters’ “bunker gear”, as they refer to their work garb, boots and helmets, along with other equipment. The fire department’s administration offices and meeting room remained in the basement area of the Clarence Creek municipal office until the remaining interior office work at the new station was done.
Then it was just a matter of setting aside a week for moving all of the desks, file cabinets, and other office equipment over to the new station. That took place during the late spring/early summer.
New station features
Besides the larger and more spacious vehicle bay area, the new fire station has several other features that local firefighters have dreamed about for years.
“Each firefighter now has a separate locker where he can keep a clean change of clothes,” said Deputy Chief Villeneuve.
In the past, when the Rockland station firefighters answered a call, they would bring a change of clothes in a duffle bag. Most of them also had to wait until they went back home before they could shower down after dealing with a fire call.
The new station has a fully-equipped shower facility, where volunteers and full-time firefighters can enjoy a relaxing, cleansing hot shower after they’ve spent sometimes hours in a smoke-filled building. There is also a separate laundry system at the new station for cleaning their bunker gear to remove any carcinogens. Before, the fire department had to budget every year for sending bunker gear out to a special cleaning facility.
Another welcome feature of the new station is all the office space available, both for administration needs and also for meetings and classroom training sessions for firefighters. There is also an emergency generator for the building to make sure that station operations can continue even during a power failure.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, local firefighters are unable to invite the general public for a tour of their new facility, and they had to forego the idea of an official Open House event. But they are able to offer a virtual tour of their new home for anyone interested.