Westminster Fire Company won't move its station to the RMS Inc. building on Route 27 as planned, but the volunteer company still plans to move out of downtown Westminster.
"We're not giving up on the project. We just need to step back and regroup a little," said James E. Bangerd III, fire company president.
Engineers assessed the RMS building, a hydraulic equipment shop, as too expensive to convert to a fire station, Mr. Bangerd reported. He broke the news to fire company members at the Oct. 4 meeting.
The fire company had a $1.9 million contract to buy the RMS building and the Gardiner's furniture store across the street. The company planned to spend about $1 million to renovate the buildings.
The fire station and social hall on East Main Street were built in 1896. The company decided to move because the existing site (( offered no room for expansion to house larger equipment and because of traffic congestion downtown.
Mr. Bangerd said the company will start looking at other sites for the fire station, but will continue its plans to convert the Gardiner's furniture store for a social hall.
Although the social hall traditionally has been incorporated into the fire station, it doesn't have to be, Mr. Bangerd said. It can be dangerous when an engine or ambulance has to leave the fire hall on Main Street at the same time people are arriving at the adjacent social hall entrance, he said.
Mr. Bangerd ruled out a second station to serve the western section of town. The idea of a second station was discussed several years ago, but Mr. Bangerd said it is a poor way to deal with growing demands on the fire company. It would divide the volunteers into two locations and would increase the fire company's overhead, he said.