WAYNESBORO, FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. -- A Franklin County fire department finds itself in a potentially emergency situation, as the purchase of a new fire truck weighs heavily on the minds of several firefighters.
Waynesboro’s Potomac Street fire station is about to get a new ladder truck that’s bigger and better, but when its fully loaded, it will be nearly 35,000 pounds heavier than the old one.
The new truck would put a lot more extra weight to put on the floor of the fire station.
If this ceiling downstairs doesn’t hold up, firefighters could find their new million dollar truck parked right in the basement.
Waynesboro fire chief Shawn Adolini said "I couldn’t even imagine."
The reality for fire chief Adolini is the creaking and cracking sounds that are often heard while underground.
"This building is really old, it actually used to be a horse stable," Adolini said.
"We’ve been having some issues with the structure of the Potomac Street fire station, with some cracks in the wall that are continuing to get bigger. Once we discussed the new ladder truck being a little bit heavier, we approached the borough about getting an engineer here to do a study," Adolini added.
The engineering study will cost about $4,400, and will be paid not by fire hall chicken dinners or bingo, but by the Borough of Waynesboro.
Waynesboro borough manager Jason Stains said "we’re hoping that what they’re going to find is that everything is structurally sound in its current capacity, but we would be prepared to install supports for whatever is necessary."
It's not known yet if that will be enough to support the foundation of stone and mortar.
"Depending on the results of the study, depends on the amount the borough would potentially have to put into this building, at this time we don’t have a number in place," Stains said.
Firefighters may wonder if they would be forced to give up their new 80,000 pound truck before it arrives.
"That’s something we haven’t really discussed with the borough and the volunteers of an emergency back up plan, because it definitely won’t fit in our other station, at Station 2 on Virginia Avenue," Adolini said.
Meanwhile, the potential for a crumbling foundation isn’t the only concern for firefighters and borough officials.
"We want everything to be safe for not only the apparatus, but for the volunteers and our full time staff, that work in this station," Stains said.
"The last thing that we want to have happen is anything that is going to jeopardize the safety and the needs of the public in Waynesboro and the surrounding communities that we serve," Stains added.
The engineering study is expected to be completed in a few weeks. Until then, fire fighters will have to wait to figure out a plan for what happens next.