Last updated: February 17. 2013 2:40AM - 61 Views

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HANOVER TWP. – On Saturday the Hanover Township Fire Department took one major step toward its planned consolidation as demolition began on the old Square H Lumber Company on the Sans Souci Highway.

The department purchased the abandoned property last year and plans to construct a new state-of-the-art facility there, closing four of its five current locations, according to Fire Chief Jeff Tudgay.

The new station will include up to eight double-deep bays and house up to 10 vehicles, he said. Most important, it will allow the department to provide better fire protection for its 22-square mile footprint, he said.

"We can get anywhere in the township in less than 5 minutes from here," he said.

Funding is the biggest challenge, Tudgay said, estimating the total cost of the consolidation to be about $3 million. But with the "generosity" of the owners of the Square H property, money from fire department fundraisers and the volunteer work of two local contractors, the "dream is a lot closer to reality," he said.

Northeast Cartage and John Halliday Trucking offered their time, manpower and machines to do the work, removing several hundred tons of materials at no charge to the department, Tudgay said. Much of the materials such as the steel and aluminum in the building will be recycled, Tudgay added.

The fire department will maintain the current station in the Newtown section and open a satellite station somewhere in the Askam section, in addition to the new consolidated station, but all other buildings will be closed, he said. Constructed in the early 1900s, they have leaking roofs as well as other structural problems, he added.

John Halliday, owner of the trucking company, said he was happy to help the fire department because of what it does for the community.

"The firefighters do so much. This is the least we could do for them. We will help in any way we can," Halliday said. His trucks will continue to run material from the site for the next few days until it is gone. He estimated the total demolition might take a week.

Joe Temarantz, deputy fire chief, said the department has been trying to consolidate its services for several years and purchasing the abandoned lumber yard represented a chance to get a good location while eliminating an "eyesore."

The department especially appreciated the help from the volunteers, he added.

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