At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, deputy fire chief Mark Amatrudo presented the initial list of renovation needs that the Wilton Fire Department says are required at the satellite fire station in North Wilton. Calling the building “essentially a 1950s house that needs to be renovated,” second selectman Jim Saxe supported the deputy chief’s assessment.

The list of renovation needs that Amatrudo outlined will be compiled as a “statement of requirements” or SOR, to present to construction managers and architects as the town prepares to renovate the 58 year old building commonly referred to as “fire station no. 2,” located at 707 Ridgefield Rd.. In May, Wilton voters approved a $90,000 bond authorization to complete architectural and engineering schematics in preparation for renovating the satellite station.

Amatrudo said the SOR was intended to outlines “what will fulfill the town’s needs for the next 25-30 years, not just today.” He added that the station is a critical element in the department’s ability to respond because of the time it takes to respond from headquarters, “especially for emergency-medical response. It’s not a question of whether we might be able to do without.”

While the plan is to maintain the building’s current footprint, Amatrudo said there are a couple “critical things”:

1.  The well and water system:  The well is currently shut off, and the station relies on two 2,000 gallon tanks that supply all the water the firefighters currently use. (While that water is tested and potable, the firefighters have Poland Spring water that they use for drinking.) “This problem is the biggest we’ll have to deal with,” Amatrudo said.

  • The well has radon, high levels of sodium and bacteria. “It’s not exactly drinking water,” he added.

2.  The septic system: Amatrudo said this needs to be evaluated but it “seems to be okay.”

Among the other issues:

  • Firefighting apparatus cannot fit in the station, and the doors need to be evaluated/replaced to accommodate more modern apparatus now in use and for future use
  • Overcrowding:  While the building is minimally staffed with just two firefighters, those needs may change to include a medic or other safety personnel, and the building as it is now cannot accommodate more staff on an ongoing basis. “Currently we have two people there 24/7. In storm conditions we automatically bump to four, and it will go to six if things get crazy.”
  • Single bathroom:  A single bathroom for two people, said Amatrudo, is manageable, but with more people, “you’ve got some issues with that.”
  • Appliance use:  They see heavy use.
  • Decontamination:  Body fluid isolation and decontamination is a “big thing,” Amatrudo said, and the firefighters aren’t supposed to wash and decontaminate items in the same sink. Currently the satellite station does not accommodate for those procedures adequately.
  • Single pane windows, lack of insulation, and HVAC issues:  Amatrudo said that not only is the HVAC system old, but that it was not increased when additional space was added onto the building. As a result, it is insufficient for the building’s current size.
  • Wiring:  “We have numerous breakers that trip,” Amatrudo said.
  • Plumbing
  • Fire alarm, smoke alarms, sprinklers need evaluation
  • The generator is “not old.”
  • The chimney was rebuilt last year, and can stay.

Amatrudo said the list of requirements was compiled by a group, including fire chief Ron Kanterman, selectman Saxe, representatives from Turner Construction and several firefighters.

Saxe echoed Amatrudo’s evaluation and said it basically needed, “…a new envelope, new doors.”

First selectman Bill Brennan added that the firefighters have worked very hard to clean out any unused items and materials from the building and have cleaned it up. “The place looks substantially better and is more functional. But the SOR is flexible, and the attempt is to make the fire station good for another 25-30 years, and you don’t want to skimp. We may find less needs to be done, and we have building codes, so all of this will come out with the professionals–the architects, the engineers, the construction manager. Fortunately, Turner is very capable and confident. They’ll be moving toward RFPs and to getting the architects and engineers to pick the one we think will do the best job.”

The building was last renovated 25 years ago when the department adapted to the use of what Amatrudo called “career firefighters, 24/7/365.” Amatrudo added that the last renovation was done “fairly quickly, with little engineering thought,” and also said that the town has continued to experience approximately an 8-10 percent increase in incidents that the department responds to annually.

The BoS approved the SOR so that building professionals can be brought in to assess the project. Brennan said that there will not be a new building committee formed, but the current group that worked to put together the list of needs will continue to oversee the project.

4 replies on “Selectmen Review Renovation Needs for Fire Station No. 2 in North Wilton”

  1. The comments made at the Board Of Selectman’s meeting have several misstatements. Although the building is 58 years old, the complete septic system was replaced in the mid to late 1980s. Since only 2 people use it, the system should still be in good shape. About the same time, the HVAC system was replaced. The old system circulated air in both the garage and living quarters. The new installed system had a HVAC system for each. A few years later, the front equipment doors were replaced because “the old ones were deteriorated” and were replaced with insulated doors. Supposedly, the equipment (Water Tank Truck) does not fit. SO, put the smaller water tank truck in Station 2. “Fire alarms and smoke alarms need evaluating”? Not even worthy of a comment!

    The fact of the matter is that station 2 is an anomaly. We need regional fire support instead of each town providing its own fire coverage. Wilton already has this with the Georgetown Fire Department. The area served by station 2 could be handled by Ridgefield, for example. Many of the surrounding towns cover for Wilton or even help at Wilton fire responses. Regional fire coverage
    would just change the response characteristics of primary and secondary responders.

    One million dollars (and we know it will be more) is just a waste of our money!

    1. We need you back “Former Selectman”. This town is going to pot and I don’t mean that pot. They have a money tree at Town Hall that taxpayers are contributing to. and all we hear is Turner Construction this and Turner Construction that. what a farce!

  2. I think the article’s characterization of the $90,000 bonding resolution as approving architectural and engineering “schematics” ahead of a renovation is slightly inaccurate. According to an April 24, 2015 Wilton Bulletin article (, “[t]he town is seeking $90,000 in bonded funds to pay for an architectural and engineering study of the 60-year-old north Wilton firehouse at 707 Ridgefield Road. Fire Chief Ronald Kanterman said the study would ‘determine exactly what needs to be completed’ at the station.” The difference is not just semantics, since a study occurs at the beginning of the process, whereas schematic drawings are put together much later, after consensus is reached on what work actually needs to be done. Indeed, according to Chief Kanterman, that’s the whole point of the study — we can’t draw schematics until a study tells us what work needs to be completed.

    Put another way, I don’t see how the town can possibly put together a Statement of Requirements when the $90,000 study has not been conducted yet. That was the whole point of the A&E study being authorized — to figure out what we need to do. For instance, if the study determines that the cleaning station needs to be upgraded but that the septic system is fine, the SOR can rely upon the independent findings of the A&E study to include the cleaning station and exclude the septic system. Put yet another way, if the Town was able to prepare a Statement of Requirements before obtaining the results of the A&E study, then why did the Board of Selectmen ask the voters for $90,000 to prepare an A&E study in the first place, and how does the Board intend to spend the $90,000 if not for such a study?

    Separately, what is this “current group” of individuals who prepared the Statement of Requirements? Why does it include Turner Construction members? Where are the minutes from the meeting of this “current group”, and why are they not available anywhere on the Wilton Town website? Is Turner Construction being compensated for its role on this “current group”? If so, did its membership, whether in an advisory or voting capacity, get put out to a public bid? Does Turner Construction intend to bid in the future, either on the A&E contract for $90,000, or on the ultimate renovation construction management or general contractor work? If so, would such a bid under these circumstances constitute a conflict of interest, given that Turner Construction would be serving as a quasi-government committee member, and simultaneously as a design engineer and/or construction manager or general contractor, all on the same project?

    Wilton deserves transparency and fiscal responsibility, and right now we seem to be getting neither.

    1. I’m sorry Simon, but it does not take a rocket scientist to see that there is fiscal mismanagement with lots of hanky panky going on with elected officials and our “volunteers” who sit on particular boards and Turner. This BS hopefully will be corrected by Lynne with a CPA, not by another cheerleader or attorney.

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