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In design: A new, modern fire station for Broomall

November 30, 2017

In designing a new station for the Broomall Fire Co., Paul Andrew Sgroi decided to borrow from its past.

The fire company had its first station constructed in 1924. It was a stone building with a cupola and it housed a motorized American LaFrance-made pumper that cost $5,700 in 1925.

That original fire station has since been turned into a pizza shop and Broomall Fire, also known as company No. 53, is in need of new station to replace the one from which it now operates at North Malin Road and West Chester Pike. It’s 60 years old, too small to accommodate modern fire equipment and essentially obsolete.

Broomall Fire enlisted Sgroi, an architect at Bernardon to design the new $7 million station. Having designed several stations, he is aware of safety guidelines and other elements that need to be incorporated while capturing some personality that a fire company may have and he attempted to bring that to the new fire station for Broomall.

“The main element is borrowed from history,” Sgroi said. “We captured the essence of the original fire station and brought that history of that facility to this site. You don’t always have that opportunity to use that as the basis of design.”

Sgroi decided to make the centerpiece of the new facility a stone-like building with a cupola with No. 53 at the top. “There are differences but this looks like a re-creation while liberties are being taken,” he said.

On one side of the main building, there is a row of bays that can handle larger, modern ladders and trucks. The old size of a bay door had been 10 feet by 10 feet and now it’s 14 feet by 14 feet, giving it room enough for mirrors and other apparatus clearance. In addition, there’s space for bunk rooms, a small common area with a television, training and exercise rooms and a kitchen. The new station will total 25,000 square feet.

“It’s important to create a comfortable environment to encourage volunteers to be there but that doesn’t mean it’s overdone,” Sgroi said.

There are some industry guidelines that were incorporated into the design such as separate areas that are “hot” and “cool” zones. Spaces that are hot are sensitive to the types of contaminants not only coming off of the diesel vehicles but also the fire gear. Vestibules are used to prevent the noxious fumes from entering other parts of a building.

The new station will be built on a property where the former Marple Grade School at 2641 West Chester Pike was once housed. A ground breaking is scheduled for next spring and construction is expected to be completed by spring 2019.

Written by Natalie Kostelni for the Philadelphia Business Journal

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