Urgent repairs set for city fire headquarters

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford The tower at Dunkirk Fire Department headquarters on Eagle Street, seen here from the rear on Pelican Street, needs repairs before winter.

The Dunkirk Common Council approved emergency repairs to the tower at fire department headquarters on Eagle Street.

AW Farrell & Son Inc. of Dunkirk was authorized to do roof work at the tower for $76,280 and do masonry repairs with a specialist subcontractor. The work will be paid for with federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“An area of imminently dangerous decay has been identified by professional roofers inspecting the old tower … requiring immediate repairs before winter,” stated the resolution approved by the council.

City officials did not comment at all about the issue during this week’s meeting. Fire Chief Michael Edwards was not present.

Concerns about the condition of the headquarters building are far from new.

City leaders authorized a study of the building, along with the fire department’s other two halls, in 2014. Even if renovated, the headquarters would not meet current standards, according to a February 2015 OBSERVER story about the results of the study. In addition, the study stated that so much work is needed at headquarters, it is not a wise financial choice to do extensive renovations.

The mid-2010s study stated that replacing the headquarters with a new one could cost more than $6.4 million.

Keith Ahlstrom, then the fire chief, told the OBSERVER for its February 2015 article that the headquarters needed replacement when he began working for the department in 1979.

“Headquarters as a building isn’t going to last. The first choice was do nothing. I’ve been in the fire department for 35 years and we’ve done nothing for 35 years,” Ahlstrom said seven years ago. “There has to be a plan looking three, five years out, on taking care of some of the situations we have.”


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