Moriarty is building a new fire station in town, a 13,000 square foot building across from the current fire station.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Moriarty yesterday to celebrate. Fire Chief Todd Hart said it will provide safer working and living conditions for firefighters.

The city was allocated $450,000 in capital outlay funds for fiscal year 2019-20, and another $500,000 in the current fiscal year, according to city clerk Sheila Murphy.

A bid was awarded to Cleary Building for $694,575, with additional funds for engineering and other associated costs, she said.

“We all know, especially firefighters, what we live in, what we have to work in,” he said. “The city and city leaders wanted to make this safe. So, we worked diligently to find ways to make this happen.”

Hart said Rep. Matthew McQueen had visited the station, adding, “He’s seen what we work with, what we live in. I think that got the ball rolling with our city leaders too.”

Hart said the biggest change from the old station to the new will be protection the new station will give firefighters from cancer-causing substances that are a regular part of firefighting.

“The new station won’t allow carcinogens into the living area,” he said. “Any time I go on a structural fire or any time kind of fire our gear gets carcinogens in it. Right now, basically, there’s no way to stop it getting in the living area with the existing station … The way the new station is, it’ll be an actual [decontamination] room to where the firefighter can take his gear into this room, put it in an extractor, clean it, and then while he’s touching it he can go into a shower room and clean himself to stop from possibly getting cancer from carcinogens. Just an extra precaution.”

Hart also said the new station will have a better set up and overall work environment.

He described the current kitchen as “pretty outdated and dilapidated,” adding, “The day room is about the size of a bathroom, so for them to relax, there’s no room basically, it’s congested in there if you have a full crew. Their work areas where they need to do their online training or their reports is basically right next to the day room where people are talking and laughing and playing, and other people are trying to do reports right next to them.”

Chief Hart said the new building will house up to eight firefighters, with sleeping quarters, training areas, living areas, workout space and kitchen facilities.

McQueen said what really sold him on building a new station was getting a tour of what current conditions are like. “The mayor, and the council and the [fire] chief definitely gave me the hard sell on the new facility, and they did that by walking me through the old facility,” he said. “It’s a good thing you guys are the fire department, because I’m not sure it would pass a fire inspection.”

Mayor Ted Hart said the new facility wouldn’t have been built without McQueen’s help, especially with lobbying. He said it took two years to secure the capital outlay money, but that he appreciated it very much.

Capital outlay funding is taxpayer money that is divided between legislators, who then decide where that money goes.

Todd Hart said it is a great achievement to go from what the fire department has had to work with to what they will soon be getting.

“It’s wonderful, just the camaraderie that we have in the station’s building,” he said. “This new building is going to make so much more, and I think not only just for the firefighters, but for the whole community because when these guys are happy, they’re gonna want to do their job … So, it’s just a great day for us. I’m excited and I hope the community is too.”

Ted Hart said the new station is more progress for the city of Moriarty.

Members of the Moriarty Fire Department at a groundbreaking for a new fire station. Photo by Felecia Pohl.

“We’re not slowing down, we’re moving forward is the big thing,” the mayor said. “It’s a high recruitment tool. People see that we actually have a great fire department. They can come in and work for us as a volunteer and eventually become paid person. It’s a high recruitment, but it’s also to show that we’re not backing down, we’re moving forward.”