The Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department (WBVFD) will be moving to a new location after it announced last week the purchase of a new property on the corner of Maryland Route 2 and Maryland Route 214.
The property will give the volunteers better technology and quicker access to the nearby community, WBFVD President Mac Connell said. Currently stationed in a residential neighborhood on Londontown Road in Edgewater, Connell said the move is a much-needed one, both for the department and those it serves.
Their current station was built in 1946-47 and its location causes significant problems for volunteer firefighters and paramedics.
Whenever traffic-slowing accidents occur on Route 214 or Route 2, Connell said response times to emergency incidents are greatly affected and being in a “residential” area hurts efficiency and effectiveness.
Location isn’t the only problem either. Because of the building’s size, new fire equipment costs the department money due to its inability to fit within the walls.
“Today, fire equipment is so much bigger. When we get a new piece, we’ve got to modify it so it can fit in our building,” said Mac Connell Jr., a 38-year veteran of the WBVFD. “Those [modifications] cost a lot of extra money.”
The new station’s design will be a prototype of the newest stations throughout the county, such as Station 8 on Bay Ridge Road in Annapolis, Connell said. It will include eight drive-through bays accommodating eight different vehicles. The building may have additional space for a training center and classrooms.
Connell said he hopes construction will begin within the next five years but the project would need to be funded first.
“To try and give an accurate guess would be hard to do, but the range we’re talking about, in a guess, would be somewhere between $2 million to $3 million,” Connell said.
Connell said the architect’s design and available space will determine the final cost of the project.
“We’ve got a lot of things to do and we’re looking at any and all available grants,” Connell said. “We’re doing it on our own. The county is not contributing so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
When it’s finished and the station is complete, it seems the department will no longer face unnecessary expenses or constant traffic delays.
“Our new location will give us much quicker access to the Mayo Peninsula,” Connell Jr. said. “Now, we’ll be able to get right out onto Route 214 and increase our response to the peninsula by at least two minutes.”