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Summit Hill fire company will soon occupy new station

Published January 08. 2010 05:00PM

Councilman Michael Kokinda of Summit Hill said he has been opposed to having a temporary occupancy permit issued for the borough's new fire station.

But he feels there is little other choice, considering that ongoing issues could continue for a long time.

As a result, the borough informed members of the Diligence Fire Company that it can begin moving some items into the newly-constructed building along West Ludlow Street, possibly as early as this weekend.

Apparatus won't be permitted into the structure for about three more weeks. The borough's Unified Construction Code officer will be required to inspect the building before approval for the occupancy is given.

The new fire house was part of a $3.5 million construction project of the borough, which included demolishing the former fire station and borough hall, and constructing new buildings. The fire house is on the same site as the former station.

The fire station had been scheduled for completion in December 2008. It was months later that the building took shape, and then couldn't be occupied because of construction flaws including a cracked floor, faulty interior door, and heating and air conditioning deficiencies.

The floor has been replaced and the door was repaired. The council has indicated it might have to file a lawsuit to have the heating and air conditioning problems resolved.

In fact, the borough hall was occupied in the summer of 2008 and there are still issues with the heating and air conditioning systems.

Council President Joe Weber, speaking on behalf of the council, told firefighters, "As a whole, we're happy that 21 days from now ... we will have occupancy for you."

Fire Chief Shawn Hoben said the long period of idleness of the building and continued construction work require some cleanup.

He asked if the contractor was going to hire a company to clean the building before occupancy happens.

"It is pretty dirty," Kokinda said.

He added that the contractor refused to hire a cleaning firm.

The reason the apparatus can't be moved to the new station is because the new floor was just recently installed and must have time to cure.

Hoben said the fire company has been storing many items in a pod. There were also items kept in storage at the Summit Hill American Legion Post.

Apparatus has been kept at the borough garage for nearly two years while demolition and construction has occurred.

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