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Fire Station Renovations Start

The renovations to Fire Stations 1 and 4 in East Providence have gotten underway after lagging behind because of delays leading up to their approvals by the Budget Commission.

The message to the East Providence City Council last week on millions of dollars worth of repair work to two fire stations was mixed.

Fire Chief Oscar Elmasian said: “We’re at where we should have been at the end of last summer.”

Delays in getting new bids after the initial bids exceeded the budgets and other issues led to the Budget Commission not being able to approve the projects until mid-December. 

“We just have to keep a close eye on the contractors and the project managers,” he said of the renovations to Fire Station 1 at 913 Broadway and Fire Station 4 at 66 Wampanoag Trail. 

"Work is on schedule now since the new starting date," he said.

“And we already have weekly meetings to get updates,” said Elmasian, who inherited the repair projects at the end of last year when he was promoted to acting fire chief.

At that point in time, the construction schedule already was considered “aggressive” to get the work done by the end of the summer this year or risk losing federal cash that is paying for the projects. 

With the work done already and expected over the next six months, Elmasian said, he is not concerned with losing the grant money.

“We couldn’t be where we’re at right now,” he said. “But we’ll be well into the project by this summer. We just have to show significant progress.”

Total cost of the work is around $4.9 million: $2.9 million for Fire Station 1 and $2 million for Fire Station 4. The money is coming from an Assistance to Firefighters Grant of about $6.4 million under the federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

Demolition work has already begun at Fire Station 4, which will practically be gutted and rebuilt with a third engine bay and a second floor. Footers for the new foundation have been dug. The contractor is working around asbestos removal until it can be done. The firefighters have relocated to a facility on Amaral Street.

“Selective demolition” has begun at Fire Station 1, said Elmasian, which is getting an addition to the second floor and completely renovated residential and administrative facilities. Firefighters will continue to live there while work is done; the adminstration has moved temporarily to the Sweetland House -- the community policing building.

Iron Construction Group of Warwick is the contractor for Fire Station 1. The Bailey Group in Cranston is the contractor for Fire Station 4. Willam Starck Architects is the designer for both projects.

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