CANTON, CT (WFSB) - The condition of one of the Town of Canton's fire houses is making the jobs of firefighters more dangerous and the public less safe, fire officials claim.
Chief Johnathan Gotaski said the Collinsville Station is much too small to accommodate modern equipment and is falling apart.
"Overall, the general consensus you could say is it's cramped," Gotaski said.
The chief said it's a real public safety issue.
"They can't physically pull the stretcher out to decon it," Gotaski said. "They have to open the bay doors, even in the winter time."
Town leaders said they will replace the 49-year-old firehouse if voters support the project in a referendum this November.
Building a new station would cost more than $5 million.
Gotaski said it would be money well spent.
“When our members respond to a call, seconds and minutes count,” he said. “So, when they are coming inside and basically stumbling over each other, whacking each other with their gear, somebody could get hurt and it’s eating up our time.”
State Sen. Kevin Witkos also supports the project which he said would cost the average homeowner about $7 a month in new taxes.
"I think that it's an investment that enhances the community," Witkos said. "We're only talking about $7 more a month in taxes for a firehouse that will last for decades to come."
Gotaski said his crews will do their best no matter which way the vote goes. However, he encouraged skeptics to swing by the building for a tour.
"We're more than happy to open the door and show what our volunteers are living in," he said.
The referendum is slated for Nov. 2.