Wilton’s new fire station open house

WILTON – The Wilton fire station on Main Street was built in 1959, replacing a wooden building built in 1875. It served the town well for many years, but the department outgrew the space years ago.

A new station was approved by voters last year. An open house of the new facility, with a waffle and sausage breakfast, was held on May 18, with a steady stream of residents coming for a tour. It was a long time in the making.

About 20 years ago, as the department was growing and trucks getting larger and more diversified, a committee was formed to study a new station.

Tom Herlihy, now the director of emergency management, was a member of that study committee, the first of many.

“We considered a site off Main Street,” he said. “That was the idea and that was our charge.”

After consideration of all town-owned property, the site proposed was at the entrance to the recycling center.

That didn’t happen. Nor did a long list of other plans and proposals offered over the years by other study committees, including combining the fire department with the other emergency services. A police station was built on another site and the ambulance service found its home.

Finally, last year, voters approved spending about $1.7 million to add to and renovate the old station. About $760,000 had been set aside over the years for the project while various plans were discussed. A larger plan was voted down the year before.

Purchase of a new fire truck had been delayed because a new one wouldn’t fit through the station doors, and updating the department’s rescue vehicle was put off for lack of room. The forestry truck had been stored at the town barn.

But even with all that, Capt. Joe Torre said during the open house, the favorite new area is the lockers, space for turn-out gear with plenty of room for changing.