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DeWitt: Breaking ground

Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners Chris Daly climbed inside the cab of the "big claw" Wednesday June 13, to take the first few swipes at the old DeWitt fire station being knocked down and reconstructed this July. The 16,000 square foot building located at 4500 E. Genesee St. will be replaced by a new facility almost twice its size.

The hefty plan has been in the works for more than a year, and this past April voters overwhelmingly approved the $9 million project, giving it the go ahead it required financially.

"It's a dream come true and it's going to be a building that will suffice for us for the next 50 years," said Chief Gary MacLachlan. The chief stressed public safety as the primary cause for the transformation.

"It's not a memorial to anything except we want better public safety," he said.

And that it will provide. The new two and a half-story station will have five bays big enough to accommodate all of the department's apparatus, an emergency operations center for the town and larger living quarters to house more people overnight -- an amenity that ultimately carries quicker emergency response time.

"We really emphasize people bunking in at the station so that in a minute or two of an alarm, we can be out on the streets, as opposed to getting up at home, getting in your car and driving to the station," MacLachlan said to News10Now's Cait McVey.

Because it is an accommodation department, it has both career-paid personnel as well as volunteer personnel bunking in and sleeping from time to time.

During the ceremony, Daly and Jeff Conlon, president of the DeWitt Fire Department, unveiled a sign that illustrates a computer rendition of the proposed building. The sign will be placed at the future site for the next year. In the meantime, the DFD will be located at a temporary location on 6601 Towpath Road, DeWitt.

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