NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Fire Department’s new headquarters will be up and running by the end of the week.
Fire Department administration and the Fire Marshals will move into the new building at 121 Connecticut Ave. on Tuesday and will reopen for nonemergency business Wednesday, according to an announcement from the city Monday. Active fire trucks will be ready to move in by the end of the week.
Fire Department officials have been displaced since late 2011, when administration moved to temporary offices on East Avenue and the fire suppression crews of Station 2 were moved to Fairfield Avenue. Construction on the site has been on schedule since its start in April 2012.
The new three-story headquarters had a budget of $16 million, with $1 million of the covered by a grant from the federal government. The project has not gone over that budget, according to the city.
The headquarters will include more space for modern equipment and training tools, including the city’s Emergency Operations Center and an IT center on the third floor. The features include a new video conferencing center, which could be used to teleconference with regional, state and federal officials during major events.
The station was also designed with sustainability in mind, and builders are confident that it could qualify for LEED Silver certification. Fire Chief Denis McCarthy has also said the site hopes to be able to last even longer than the old Volk Fire Station’s 48 years in service.
“While we cannot predict what the service needs are in 20 or 50 years, we have prudently designed in additional office, firefighter and equipment space into the building,” the department said in its pitch to the Common Council.
There will also be touches of history in the building as well. A 2-inch-thick slab of steel from the World Trade Center is on display on the training wall. The slab found its way to Norwalk through Lee Ielpi, president of the September 11th Widows and Victims’ Families Association, who lost a son Jonathan on 9/11 who served in the Fire Department of New York.
The new fire station also contains a 130-year-old bell, a relic from the first Central Firehouse on Franklin Street. The bell had been outside the old fire headquarters since it was built in 1963 and will hang in the new station’s atrium.
“This bell dates back to the 1880s and has been part of the Norwalk Fire Department's long history,” the fire department’s website says.