Fire Departments Agree To Contract

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By Steve Jusseaume,

Hampton Union, Tuesday, March 12, 2002

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- With barely three weeks left before the town assumes fire protection at Hampton Beach, the Board of Selectmen agreed to a proposed contract with the Hampton Beach Village District on the details of the take-over.

Under the deal, the beach precinct will lease the Ashworth Avenue Fire Station to the town for three years (with an additional two-year option) for $ 1/year.

In addition, the beach precinct will donate all its fire equipment, plus Hampton Beach Engine No. 4, to the town.

The fire equipment donated to the town includes breathing apparatus, which the beach precinct originally purchased, and wanted the town to pay for.

Selectmen called the agreement a win-win situation for the beach and the town. Fire Chief Hank Lipe has supported the consolidation of the two fire service departments all along, saying one fire service would be more efficient than two separate departments.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Skip Sullivan, the town's former fire chief, applauded the agreement and the addition of HB Engine 4 to the town's arsenal of fire-fighting apparatus.

"Engine 4 is crucial to the department," Sullivan said.

While Selectman Bonnie Searle expressed some concern over the condition of the Ashworth station house, Beach Commissioner Mike O'Neil assured the board that some upgrades have been made to the circa-1923 building in recent years.

O'Neil noted that some $70,000 has been spent on the building over the past few years, including new wiring in the second-floor meeting room. The precinct also restored the original metal ceiling in the meeting room.

Sullivan agreed the building needs additional work, but said, "It's all we've got at the beach right now, and we've got to work with it."

The agreement "in signature form" will be ready within two weeks. The board gave Town Manager James Barrington authority to sign the contract on a 4-to-1 vote (Searle opposed).

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