Fire Chief Keith Stark said reactivating Fire Station 2 to an active firehouse on Broad Street would provide better protection to East Weymouth residents and elsewhere. “This is a historic day for the Town of Weymouth and the Weymouth Fire Department,” he said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 2. “It has been 13 years since Engine 2 was taken out of service, and the station has been administrative only.”
Stark said restoring Station 2 to firehouse status had been a top priority since he was appointed chief in 2013. Station 2 was reduced to an administrative headquarters in 2008 under a town-wide budget reduction during a nationwide economic recession. The station’s diminished role left three firehouses to serve Weymouth -Station 1 on North Street, Station 3 on Winter Street, and Station 5 on Park Avenue.
Stark said there were 24,498 emergencies firefighters responded to in East Weymouth after Station 2 was downsized. “There were 818 fire incidents, totaling $5.4 million in total fire losses,” Stark said. “Eight-eight of those were residential fires, resulting in $3.6 million in damage. There were 13 civilian injuries during that time, and seven of those injuries were people over age 50. By having Station 2 back in service, we will be better protected.”
Deputy Fire Chief Tom Murphy said Station 3 firefighters responded to 65% of the emergency calls in East Weymouth while Station 2 was an inactive firehouse. “Engine 1 in North Weymouth also took calls,” he added. Murphy said the fire department receives more requests for assistance from East Weymouth than other portions of the town. “The station was closed for 13 years, and we got 2,000 calls a year from that district,” he said.
Mayor; Station 2 a “top priority”
Mayor Robert Hedlund said restoring the station to an active firehouse has been a top priority since he was elected in 2016. “We talked with the firefighter’s union about staffing, and that led us to this particular day,” he said during the ceremony.
Firefighter James Marcella said restoring the firehouse to full service would be great for providing fire protection. “I think it’s great for the safety and morale of the department,” he said after the ceremony.
Stark said Hedlund’s support for the Weymouth Fire Department includes increasing firefighting staffing levels and funding purchases for five new fire trucks. “I also want to thank the Department of Public Works for all the hard work they put into this station,” he added
Station 2 expected to benefit seniors
District 3 Councilor Kenneth DiFazio said East Weymouth has a large senior population that would benefit from Station 2’s firehouse status. “It’s great for us and a long time in coming,” he said before the ceremony. “We have a lot of elderly people and elderly nursing homes. These guys (firefighters) are the ones who make the emergency runs.”
District 2 Councilor Maureen Kiely said her district has a vulnerable senior population that had to be serviced by firefighters from “across town” after Station 2 was downsized. “I’m glad to see this station reopening come to fruition,” she said before the ceremony.
Town Council Vice-President Michael Molisse said District 3 Councilor Kenneth DiFazio strongly advocated restoring Station 2 to firehouse status. “This is a great day for the town and District 3,” he said during the ceremony. “The Council has always focused on safety in the town of Weymouth.”
Murphy said Station 2’s reactivation would benefit Weymouth as the town experiences commercial and residential growth. “With the additional growth in Weymouth, we need additional resources in South Weymouth,” he said after the ceremony. “New apartment complexes are being built on Route 18 and in Union Point.”
Murphy said the fire department had four engine trucks and two ladder vehicles when he became a firefighter in 1997. “We now have four engine trucks and one ladder,” he said. “Our resources are still short.”
Murphy said the department’s apparatus would need to be increased during the years ahead as the town continues to experience residential and commercial growth.