Lancaster Township Fire Department (LTFD) today broke ground on a new $5.8 million firehouse at a community celebration. The new Station 66, located across Millersville Pike from Manor Shopping Center, will replace LTFD’s two 70-year-old stations in the Bausman and Hamilton Park neighborhoods.
Fire truck lights flashed and sirens blared at the brief ceremony as department and community representatives shoveled the first dirt to start construction. The new firehouse is expected to be operational in fall 2023.
“Having all of our trucks in one place will enable our volunteers to answer emergency calls more quickly and efficiently,” said LTFD Chief Steve Roy. “When someone calls 911, every second counts.” The department responds to about 500 emergency calls each year.
“Our 30 active firefighters and 20 support personnel and fire police are all volunteers,” said Roy. “Thanks to them, our department is one of the most robust in the county. The new firehouse will make it easier for the volunteers to continue serving Lancaster Township for years.” There are currently about 70 fire companies in Lancaster County.
The new station will be a pre-engineered steel building with concrete block internal walls. Roy explained, “Our design priorities were high quality, low maintenance, and long life.” The station will accommodate all of LTFD’s trucks in nine bays, and it will include a locker room for turnout gear (coat, boots, helmet), dispatch and radio rooms, offices, and a large multipurpose room with adjacent kitchen for meetings and training.
Fundraising Not Done Yet
Ben Bamford, Co-Chair of the fundraising effort for the new building, noted at Saturday’s event, “The men and women of Station 66 drop everything and risk their lives to save ours. Now is our chance to answer the call to help them.”
The department is contributing $2 million from past fundraising efforts to the project and has secured a $2.4 million low-interest loan from a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to support rural fire departments. The capital campaign has raised just over half of its $1.4 million goal as of Saturday, including $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from Lancaster County. A special campaign committee of community volunteers will help raise the remaining funds by the opening of the new firehouse.
The Perfect Site
The site of the new station is owned by the School District of Lancaster. According to Chief Roy, the department first approached the district about using the land nearly 30 years ago. The district ultimately agreed to lease the property to Lancaster Township for $1 a year for 99 years exclusively for an emergency services building. Lancaster Township is subleasing it to LTFD.
The department verified that this location on a major thoroughfare would shorten response times. Researchers in statistics and computer simulations at Penn State were asked to examine thousands of LTFD calls. They determined that this area provides the best possible response times to all of western Lancaster Township.
“We’re very excited to start construction on the new firehouse,” said Roy. “This is the right building in the perfect location. It’s urgent that we act now to get both the building and the fundraising finished.”
“The sooner we make it easier for our volunteer firefighters to serve our community, the longer they will be available to answer our calls for help anytime day or night.”