LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — For years, the volunteer firefighters in town have had to be very careful when they back their trucks into the fire station, because the 1950s-era building just isn’t big enough to easily fit everything inside.
But all of that has changed now, as the 28 firefighters move their machinery into a brand-new, $1 million structure that was built at no cost to the town. Lincolnville will celebrate the change with an open house beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13.
“We’re very much looking forward,” Jason Peasley, assistant fire chief for the Lincolnville Fire Department, said Tuesday. “It’s quadrupling our space.”
The Camden Road fire station was possible thanks to the Lincolnville Volunteer Fire Dept. Inc., which donated the money to construct it for the town. The reason the volunteers were able to make such a generous gift is because they themselves benefited from a gift of stock in the Lincolnville Telephone Co., which recently was sold to a new owner, said former Fire Chief Millard Eugley. When the company was sold, the volunteers found themselves with a sizable windfall.
The gift of stock was made by the estate of Roger and Hazel Heald, both of whom had worked at the company, Eugley said. They gave it to the Lincolnville Volunteer Fire Dept. Inc., which at one time was not a municipal department and bought all of its own equipment.
“By some grace of God, when she passed away, she left us what telephone company stock she had,” he said. “We’re very fortunate.”
Thanks to the generosity of the Healds, the new building boasts spacious bays for the firetrucks, ample storage, comfortable training space, showers, a dedicated radio room and more. The bays are big enough that fire hoses can be laid out on the radiantly heated floors to dry out more easily, said Town Administrator David Kinney. There is even storage for ambulance gear, should that be required in the future.
“It’s coming together,” he said while giving a brief tour of both facilities on Monday. “It’s a tremendous gift to the town.”
The 1952 fire station is so small that when the firefighters met for training, they had to move the trucks outside to make room for the chairs, he said. The ceiling is so low that in order to load hose atop a truck, a firefighter had to lie down on the truck, because there isn’t enough head room to do the task sitting or standing up.
Eugley, who is 74 and still an active volunteer firefighter, is also the son of former Fire Chief Bertrand Eugley, who spearheaded construction six decades ago of the old station, which was named after him.
“Firetrucks have gotten taller and bigger. It was so crowded, you’d have to be awful careful,” he said. “I wish my father was still alive to see this. He’d be very pleased. We needed this for a long time, and he knew it.”
The open house will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at the new fire station at 470 Camden Road in Lincolnville. It will feature light refreshments, brief speakers and some goodies for children.