Inwood fire aims to expand and add a truck


Inwood Fire District residents are being asked to vote on two resolutions. One is to allow the fire district to borrow $2.8 million for a single-story 2,900-square-feet addition and renovation of the existing firehouse at 188 Doughty Blvd. in Inwood. The second to permit the district to borrow another $2 million to purchase a new fire truck and the associated equipment.

“The firehouse is currently at capacity,” said Dennis Varriello, the fire district’s manager, “it is a tight fit, difficult to walk around, get access to the equipment and for firefighters to get dressed.”

Varriello, speaking for the five fire district commissioners, said that should the resolution for the construction be approved the addition will be built with a foundation for a possible second floor in the future.

In 1928, the original firehouse was built on the northeast corner of Wanser Avenue and Doughty Boulevard. The firehouse was expanded in 1952 and 32 years later an annex was constructed.

Should the second resolution be approved the fire district will add a 100-foot bucket ladder truck to its fleet. The current bucket ladder truck is 75 feet.

The new truck is expected to cost roughly $2 million and the amount to be borrowed is not to exceed $2 million. Varriello said that the larger truck is needed because at least two buildings are expected to be constructed in Inwood that will be five stories and there is expected to be more building with the anticipated transit- oriented residential and mixed-use development in Inwood and North Lawrence.

The current fleet includes two ambulances, two engines, two ladder trucks, a rescue boat and a five-ton Army truck housed in an out building. That truck is used in storms and for water rescues. “We are looking to reorganize the apparatus,” Varriello said.

The Inwood Fire Department was established in 1887. The fire district was formed in 1926. Fire districts are political entities with elected governing bodies – boards of commissioners – that sets a budget. A fire district has the power both to incur indebtedness and to require the levy of taxes. It purchases the equipment the fire department needs.

The fire department responds to fires and other emergencies. Its stated mission is to “aid in the preservation of life and property for all members of our community,” officials have posted on the department’s Facebook page.

Inwood’s department consists of Hose Company 314/ Squad 318, Truck Company 313 and Engine Company 311. The volunteer unit has nearly 80 members and responds to upwards of 600 medical calls, 500 in district fire calls and additional emergencies as part of mutual aid with the other 3rd Battalion departments: Hewlett, Meadowmere Park, Lawrence-Cedarhurst, Valley Stream and Woodmere.

An informational meeting on the two proposed resolutions is being held on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m., in the training room of the Inwood Fire Department firehouse at 188 Doughty Blvd., in Inwood. Voting is on Tuesday, Feb. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the firehouse.