Tuesday, 11 September 2018 22:19

Otis residents vote to build new fire station Featured

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OTIS - An important vote in Otis sparked some big crowds at a special town meeting. Residents voted on Tuesday to build and fund a new fire house.


More than one hundred people packed the Otis Town Office for the vote. The results, made by a written vote that was quickly tallied after, was 96 in favor, and 28 against.


"We want some very basics, right now we don't even have running water," said Fire Chief Scott Baron, with the Mariaville-Otis Volunteer Fire Rescue.


Otis and nearby Mariaville share their firehouse, built in 1978, and their volunteer department. Mariaville will have their chance to vote next week. The towns would be evenly splitting the cost.


Fire officials said the change would be years in the making. Their current station doesn't have bathrooms or running water.


"We're not looking for the Taj Mahal, we're just looking for a station that our trucks will fit in," said Deputy Chief Karen Murray. "And that we're able to come back from a bloody accident scene, or any type of a scene, and be able to clean up at our own station and not have to take that home with us."


The new station would be on a lot in Mariaville owned by the two towns.


"It's been in the works for at least 20 years," said Kevin Copeland, Otis's First Selectman. "The fire station has needed to be upgraded for a long time."


Otis would be paying $320,000 from the town's surplus fund, and $55,000 from an account for the fire department. The fire house is estimated to cost $750,000 to construct.


Fire officials said before the vote, a letter was made by concerned citizens who felt a new station was not the right move at this time. And some voters on Tuesday still felt that way.


"I think that the process was rushed and that we haven't explored all the potential options," said one Otis resident, Linda Fuller.


But the majority of those in attendance felt a pressing need for an up-to-date firehouse outweighed anything else.


"Because we need protection for our homes and camps in the area, and they're in trouble," said Linda Alley on why she supported the move. "They can't even park their trucks...it needs to be done."


Now that Otis has voted in favor, Mariaville will have their own vote on the new firehouse on Tuesday, Sept. 18th.


Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...