Ground broken for new firehouse at Holmdel municipal complex

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HOLMDEL – Ground has been broken and work will soon begin on the construction of a $4.1 million firehouse at the Holmdel municipal complex on Crawfords Corner Road.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site on Oct. 6 following the awarding of a contract to Pharos Enterprises of South Amboy to construct the building, according to a press release from the township.

Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Cathy Weber, Township Committeeman Rocco Pascucci and Township Committeeman Prakash Santhana were joined at the ceremony by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), state Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Monmouth), members of Holmdel Fire and Rescue Company No. 2, and representatives of Arcari and Iovino Architects, CME Associates and Pharos Enterprises, according to the press release.

Municipal officials said the ceremonial groundbreaking marked the culmination of years of effort to bring the project to fruition.

“Fire protection is a top priority for this Township Committee,” Buontempo said. “In addition to improving facilities, we are addressing this issue on two other fronts; equipment and membership.

“Last year the township approved and ordered a new pumper truck and we expect delivery of that vehicle later this year. Volunteer recruitment is up. The department has added seven new members with several more in the pipeline. These volunteers risk their lives to protect ours,” the mayor said.

The centrally located firehouse will be a 10,600-square-foot facility that will help satisfy the need to house larger equipment and accounts for the expanding volunteer base of the fire company, according to municipal officials.

Designed with contemporary firehouses in mind, the project will have three zones: live/work, response readiness, and garage bays.

The purpose of these zones is to create an efficient layout and a clean environment. Visually, the building textures and materials were chosen to reflect the aesthetic of local farm and municipal buildings, township officials said.

The location for the new firehouse was selected following an analysis of several sites in Holmdel. Once the site on Crawfords Corner Road was selected, municipal officials had to work with representatives of the United States Postal Service to amend the postal service’s existing lease of township property. Officials said Smith was instrumental in facilitating that process.

“Words are inadequate, really, for all of us to thank you for the work you do, for the sacrifices you make,” Smith told the volunteer firefighters who attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

“This firehouse, in my opinion, is just a grateful town and a grateful mayor and township leaders saying we need the best training and the best venue, all of which make your job more doable. Again, I can’t thank you enough for what you do,” the congressman said.

Holmdel Fire and Rescue Company No. 2 currently has 40 active firefighters and has taken an aggressive approach to recruit new members, according to the press release.

Three firefighters recently graduated from the fire academy and three more firefighters are expected to graduate in November. Additional candidates will be enrolled in the fire academy’s spring class. To date in 2020 the company has responded to more than 450 calls, according to the press release.

“The fire company is extremely pleased to be breaking ground today for this new firehouse,” fire company President Brian McGraw said. “Having this firehouse in a central location will allow us to provide better coverage for the entire town and reduce response times.

“It will also give our members an ideal location to have meetings and conduct training for years to come. We look forward to the day we can move into this new firehouse and continue to provide the residents of Holmdel with the best fire protection possible,” McGraw said.

Municipal officials said the project will officially begin after the demolition of an existing storage facility on the site and is expected to be completed within 18 months.