BOSTON — In the near future, the Engine 42, District 9 Fire station will be demolished to make way for the first brand-new fire station to be built in Boston since 1984.
The entire concept centers around protecting firefighters from dangerous toxins, and the Boston Fire Department hopes it'll be a pioneer for what's to come at all firehouses.
It's a firehouse of the future that some Boston firefighters have waited their entire lives to see.
After more than three decades since the last one was built in the city, the new Engine 42, District 9 in Roxbury will be constructed with conscious effort to contain carcinogenic toxins by separating the building into three different zones.
"They all have separate utility systems around heating and ventilation and air conditioning and HVAC systems," said Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn. "Which will keep all the contaminants on the first floor of the firehouse."
Commissioner Finn says that the first floor of the two-story firehouse will act as a decontamination area, preventing contaminants from seeping into the living space while filtering gear containing potentially toxic materials.
"If you go to a fire and your gear is all contaminated and dirty and you don't wash it or clean it, you go home for three days, put the gear back on, you're exposing yourself, which doesn't make much sense," Finn said.
These renderings follow Commissioner's Finn concentrated cross-country crusade focusing on designs of other fire departments that address occupational cancer prevention.
He says Mayor Marty Walsh's support has been pivotal.
"We are on a plan [to] start rebuilding firehouses, we want to rebuild them all over time," Mayor Walsh said.
"We lost so much good talent, so much experience just from cancer alone," said Fred Sullivan, a retired Boston District Fire Chief.
Sullivan has lost count of the fellow firefighter friends he's lost from occupational cancer. He believes this is the first step in protecting others from the suffering he's witnessed time and time again.
"No one really knew where to start or what to do," he said. "It's a change in attitude, change in awareness, people are more and more aware."
Most of the firefighters and the equipment from this firehouse will be moved to a temporary location being set up about a half-mile away long before the demolition and construction phases, which are set to begin a little over a year from now.
© 2020 Cox Media Group