"Sunday night the water was about a foot from the top of that Jersey barrier there...."
Frankfort Center Fire Chief Fred Distefano keeps a close eye on the weather. His firehouse was hit with flooding in 2017 and 2019. That flooding trapped the fire apparatus inside the firehouse. Now every time heavy rains are expected, volunteers move the firetrucks out and park them all over Town. This at least allows them access to the firetrucks if there’s an emergency.
"We don’t know what tonight’s going to bring, or tomorrow’s going to bring, so we will be taking the precautions this afternoon to probably relocate the vehicles again, so that we can provide the service that we need to the community."
The majority of the flooding comes from Ferguson Creek, and the department has considered a number of solutions.
"If it was just the back of the property then we would do that. I’d put Jersey barriers up, but the problem is that bank erodes….and the water just…"
Flooding has not only caused cracks in the foundation, but the Chief believes the subfloor has been compromised causing visible cracks throughout the floors. The department has purchased a piece of property just up the street from the firehouse on Welshbush Road. That's where they’re hoping to build a new $2.5-3 million firehouse. The Chief is working on securing grants to help pay for the new facility, but the cost will be a challenge.
"Unfortunately again COVID has played a big number in the cost of materials, so the cost of what we anticipated a new building being is now almost double what it was before."
The Chief anticipates fundraising efforts will take 3 years or more. In the meantime the department will just have to continue moving vehicles, and keeping a close eye on the weather.
"We can’t stay here. If the issue’s not going to be fixed we can’t stay here. You know we have to do something. We can’t keep moving vehicles every time we know we’re going to get heavy rain."
To donate to the Frankfort Center Fire Department: FrankfortCenterFire.com or contact Chief Fred Distefano at the firehouse (315)733-1937