After months of anticipation, Schoharie firefighters have finally learned the fate of their station. As our Maria Valvanis tells us, federal funds will help rebuild and relocate their hub.
SCHOHARIE, N.Y. -- "This is our 180th anniversary this year and we don't even have a fire house to celebrate in," said Martin Shrederis, president of Niagara Engine Co. 6.
It has been 10 months since damages from Tropical Storm Irene forced the Niagara Engine Co. 6 Fire House to close its doors. But now, FEMA has agreed to cover 75 percent of the cost to build a new station.
"It's been quite a battle, but little by little, we keep coming together, making sure we are here to protect the residents of the fire district," said Shrederis.
However, the relief has been bittersweet. FEMA would only approve funding to be used on land outside of flood zones. This means that firefighters will have to say goodbye to their Grand Street location, which has been home for more than 50 years.
"It was a landmark in the village. It was in the very center. It was sad that they cannot (go back), but they aren't being allowed to," said Cathie Luz, a Schoharie resident.
"It was kind of nice for the public to be able to walk in and out of the fire house from downtown," Shrederis said.
The new fire house will be built at 114 Fort Road, where members have been temporarily stationed in a vacant tractor shop since the floods. Though it is nearly a mile from downtown, according to Shrederis, the location is a good investment for the community.
"We're looking at the next 30 to 40 years being out of the flood, being someplace that’s high and dry and working out of a facility that we don't have to leave every time we have a flood coming," said Shrederis.
Shrederis said he has plans for a rec room, which would be available for public events. He hopes it will help keep the station a part of the community.
"We're just going to try to make a building that's user friendly and everyone's happy with," said Shrederis.