By Shawn Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — The Sixteenth Avenue fire house is closed for repairs.
Public Safety Commissioner Alan DeNaro said the station will remain off-line for about three months while repairs are made to the aging building's foundation and a new concrete floor is installed. The station's trucks and fire apparatus were moved to two back-up locations last week. The repairs are expected to begin in about two weeks and take 90 to 100 days to complete, DeNaro said.
DeNaro, who oversees the police and fire department, said workers will be breaking up the station's concrete floor, replacing old beams in the basement and installing a new floor.
DeNaro said firefighters will be in and out of the Sixteenth Avenue station during shift changes, but that they will be stationed primarily at the nearby Trinity Ambulance facility off Primrose Street during the day and at the High Street fire house at night.
"It's an inconvenience for the firefighters since High Street wasn't built for so many firefighters, but it's not going to effect what we do or our response times," DeNaro said.
Mayor James Fiorentini said the repairs to the Sixteenth Avenue station are expected to cost about $115,000. The money is set aside in the mayor's capital improvements plan, which City Council approved a few weeks ago. The capital plan also includes $420,000 for a new fire pumper truck the mayor hopes to purchase by summer. Firefighters have complained that all eight of the department's pumper trucks are old and unreliable.
The Sixteenth Avenue station was built in the 1800s and originally included stables for horses that pulled fire apparatus. It is one of four full-time fire stations in the city. The others are on High Street, Water Street and on Route 125 in Bradford.
Repairs to the Sixteenth Avenue station follow renovation that were made in 2011 to the Bradford fire station that included a new boiler, roof, floors and cooking area.