Payson's First Fire Station Expands

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If you're wondering how they're using your money from a bond election two years ago, Marty deMasi will tell you. He is the Payson Fire Chief and he has been holding his breath, waiting a long time to expand the fire station on Main Street.

DeMasi has worked with the department for more than 25 years. He started as a volunteer back in the 1970s.

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Construction at 400 W. Main St., where workers are putting up a new building to house four fire trucks and several department offices.

"We need more room to improve the living conditions here for firefighters. With the expansion, we'll get more room for them and new bays for fire trucks," said deMasi.

You may have seen the renovation going on at the Main Street Fire Station. For several weeks, crews have been tearing down an old part of the station that was built in the 1960s. When you look at the fire station complex, there are offices at one end, and truck bays at the other end. Currently workers are setting up the steel frame building in the middle to house four more fire trucks, expand crew quarters, add more offices and enlarge training facilities and storage.

The total price tag on the project is about $567,000.

"This week, the frame should be up and we should be able to move in by the New Year," said deMasi.

The building expansion is necessary because firefighting has changed a lot since 1978, deMasi said.

"When I started, we would go out on less than 200 calls a year. Now we'll have about 2,200 a year," he said. Along with those extra calls comes the need for more equipment, better training and larger facilities.

"Just 10 years ago, brush removal, for example, was not part of our job. Now, with concerns about forest fires, we're more involved in that. Plus, many fires and calls are more complicated than ever before," he said.

"Our training requirements are more rigorous today than in the past, too. It used to be firefighters went through a 4-week training session. Now, they go through at least one semester of college and another semester for emergency medical training," he said.

This is the third phase of renovation at this station in about 13 years.

Prior to this expansion, the department moved out an old singlewide trailer they were using for offices and built the current truck bays.

According to deMasi, additional bond money is going to pay other fire and police projects, as well.

He says he's grateful to the people of Payson for voting to improve the department's facilities and equipment.

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