By Adam Swift
The City Council unanimously supported a $6.4 million loan order that will allow construction of the long-awaited new Point of Pines Fire Station to get underway. The council initially approved a $9.2 million loan for the fire station in 2019, but the construction was delayed by some DEP issues and the Covid pandemic. The cityâ€™s finance director, Richard Viscay, has stated that the $15.6 million will cover the entire cost of the planned construction. Revere Fire Chief Christopher Bright noted that during the past several years, the pandemic and supply chain issues across the globe have driven up construction costs. â€œItâ€™s critical for the public safety,â€ said Bright. â€œThe station is essential not just for the Point of Pines, but for response times throughout the city.â€ Revere Fire Captain and Local 926 President Kevin Oâ€™Hara said the push for a new Point of Pines station has been underway for almost the entire two decades he has been with the department. â€œWe are one of the fastest growing cities in the state, and we are number two in fires in the state,â€ said Oâ€™Hara. â€œIt goes Boston, then Revere.â€ Oâ€™Hara said the city had 14 multiple alarm fires two years ago, and that the total number of calls to the fire department has doubled over the past 15 years. He added that Revere also provides mutual aid for surrounding communities. When apparatus is pulled to other areas of the city or other communities, especially when Engine 5 is in use in other areas, Oâ€™Hara said the response time to the Point of Pines and Riverside areas increases to eight to 10 minutes. Ward 5 Councillor John Powers has worked for years to help make the new fire station a reality. â€œThere was talk of opening up the old fire station before we tore it down, and we did an inspection there and it would have put another $3 million into a losing proposition,â€ said Powers.â€I say a losing proposition because we could never put a ladder into that fire station.â€ The new station will have three bays as opposed to two bays in the older station, and it will also allow for a tower or ladder truck, which could not fit in the older station. There will also be room for a watercraft, allowing for markedly faster response times and can be used in four feet of flood water. In addition, there will be a community and training room at the new station. â€œThis will bring Point of Pines closer into city government, closer to city government,â€ said Powers. â€œDown in the Pines, they always had a fire station, a church, and a school, and all of that is gone now. So this fire station is going to reactivate the community presence in the city.â€ Powers thanked his fellow councillors for unanimously supporting the initial loan authorization vote in 2019, as well as Monday nightâ€™s loan order vote. â€œWeâ€™ve got a really good group of firefighters out there every day, protecting the citizens but you have to give them the equipment to do the job, and thatâ€™s part of what we are doing with this,â€ said Powers. With the loan authorization and bids for the Point of Pines project in place, Powers said he is hopeful that construction can get underway early this spring.