Echo Hose Fire Co. awaiting engineer firehouse analysis

The Echo Hose Fire Department is currently awaiting the fourth study within the last year to be conducted on its floor in order to determine whether it’s safe.

While exercising an “abundance of caution,” the Echo Hose Fire Department staff decided to relocate its 72,000-pound ladder truck from its bay in order to address a “depression” that has developed within its firehouse floor, where the emergency apparatus is kept.

A little more than a year after the third safety evaluation was completed on the department’s Coram Avenue firehouse floor, concerns over the condition of the floor have risen once again.

“It’s not a collapse in the floor, it’s a little ‘depression,’” said the city’s fire chief, Francis Jones. “The city is on top of it. We’re going to have an engineer come out, and it’s for an abundance of caution, again. Just to make sure that no issues, or any new issues, have developed.

“We relocated the tower truck down to the maintenance facility and just moved some of the apparatus off of that particular bay in the floor. It’s business as usual, and it’s nothing really different than what happened last time.”

Jones said the floor hasn’t “collapsed,” but said a depression in the concrete has begun to form.

“You can’t see through the floor, absolutely not,” said Jones. “There was no physical collapse or hole. There’s what I guess you would consider a soft spot in the concrete. Some concrete is more dense than others. It just needs to be looked at — we’re not engineers.”

The fire chief said that despite the “soft spot” in the concrete, the department is still functioning as normal.

“There’s been ongoing concern with the floor there for many years and they’ve been addressed over the years,” said Jones in reference to the firehouse, which was built in 1962. ”When you have something wrong at your house, you fix it. The same thing goes on here.”

Mayor Mark Lauretti visited the firehouse to observe the condition of the floor last week and said he’s letting Jones handle the matter.

“The situation certainly requires some attention,” said Lauretti. “This depression will eventually lead to a collapse if it’s not tended to.”

Jones said the next step is for the engineer to come and do another study on the floor.

“When he arrives he will determine whether or not it’s more of the same or something different,” said Jones.

The city’s head of building maintenance, Chris Potucek, brought in Szeker Engineering to investigate the condition of the apparatus floor at the Echo Hose fire station in February 2017. This is the same company that did the last two investigations, in 2005 and 2008.

The city’s director of public safety and emergency management services, Mike Maglione, said the studies that were conducted in both 2005 and 2008 didn’t reveal any threat to the members of the fire company, but preventative action was recommended.