Arlington firefighters tear apart Station 46

Arlington firefighters use a backhoe to knock down Station 46
Arlington firefighters use a backhoe to knock down Station 46's remaining roof system, masonry and interior walls on Nov. 30.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Christine Badger.

ARLINGTON — The Arlington Fire Department bid farewell to a familiar landmark on the morning of Nov. 30, as part of their transition into new lodgings next year.

"Arlington firefighters were allowed to do something they've wanted to do for years — tear apart Arlington Fire Station 46," Arlington Community Emergency Management Coordinator Christine Badger said.

Firefighters began demolishing their living quarters on the south end of the building at 11 a.m., putting into practice the same skills they've developed in breaking through buildings while fighting fires. They employed equipment ranging from hand and power tools to a backhoe, the latter of which they used to knock down the station's remaining roof system, masonry and interior walls.

"Rebuilding Station 46 has been a long time coming," Arlington Deputy Fire Fire Tom Cooper said. "We're grateful for the opportunity to start the demolition, because that means a new building will be going up soon."

Cooper explained that the portion of the structure that was removed had served the Arlington Fire Department and community for 50 years, and was "a cornerstone of much of the community's history." Nonetheless, he noted that the structural deterioration, instability and lack of workable area for staff in the oldest fire hall in the city were key factors in the decision to rebuild.

The station's existing truck bays will remain intact, albeit with a new roof to replace their aging metal roof, and they'll continue to house fire apparatus during the construction phase. Arlington fire and EMS staff have been moved to other stations and adjacent offices until the new station is completed, which Badger estimated would happen by June of next year.

The demolition of the old fire department administration building will make way for new parking and firefighting equipment-washing areas. Synergy Construction's $1.3 million renovation will replace it with a 3,900-square-foot, two-story structure, affording more living space for the firefighters.

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