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On Dec. 9, members of Branford's Indian Neck-Pine Orchard Fire Co. 9 gathered for a homecoming celebration as the company moved in to its brand-new firehouse facility, built on the site of the former firehouse at 6 Linden Ave. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
As of Dec. 9, Co. 9 is operating from its new firehouse, which had been under construction since April 2019. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
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On Monday, Dec. 9, after just over nine months away, Branford's Indian Neck-Pine Orchard Fire Co. 9 moved back home, and into a brand-new facility, at 6 Linden Ave.
The $1.675 million Co. 9 firehouse project, which received a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance (STEAP) grant, replaces an aging, two-story firehouse and single garage bay constructed from a converted 1911 home. The new two-story, two-bay building, designed by Silver Petrucelli+ Associates, Inc. (Hamden), includes just under 5,000 square feet of operating space. The new firehouse also complies with federal standards for storm resiliency.
Branford Fire Chief Tom Mahoney said the project was completed on budget and within the anticipated time frame. Remediation and construction work got underway in April. At that time, Co. 9 and it's apparatus was relocated to operate from a nearby, secure area at Branford's Water Pollution Control Facility, 75 Block Island Road in Indian Neck. The company's apparatus is Engine 9 and Tac-6, a fire-response truck.
When the cold weather began to hit a few weeks ago, Co. 9 was moved to Branford Fire Headquarters at 45 North Main St., home to the Town's career professional firefighters (Local 2533) and Branford's major firefighting/EMT apparatus.
"We did move them to headquarters for about a three-week period; but overall there were no issues," said Mahoney, adding the cold-weather move was "...inconvenient and [concerning] for response time, which is why it's important we have a station down there. But thankfully, we didn't have any major incidents in the area."
Co. 9's on-call volunteers will respond to emergencies in Indian Neck, Pine Orchard and Pawson Park. Headed up by Captain Mike Mullen, Co. 9 is one of five volunteer companies in town, all of which operate under Branford Fire Department.
On Dec. 9, Mahoney, Mullen, Co. 9 volunteers, family and supporters gathered for a brief homecoming celebration at the new firehouse. Rev. Sharon Gracen of Trinity Espicopal Church provided a blessing.
"It's great to be back in the 'Neck again," Mullen told Zip06/The Sound. "It was tough during the summer, and when it got cold we got relocated to headquarters and that was a bit out of the way; but it's great to be back home."
Mahoney said a public ribbon-cutting event at the new facility is being planned for July 2020, with more details to follow. He also noted Co. 9 has plans to hold an open house at the facility in the spring of 2020, at which time members plan to unveil a plaque that will be installed at the building to honor a former Branford Fire Chief, the late Peter Mullen.
"The company voted to dedicate the building to him," said Mahoney. "It's still going to be Indian Neck-Pine Orchard Co. 9, but they're going to have a plaque dedicated to past Chief Mullen for all his years of service. He was a big, larger-than-life figure in the history of the Branford Fire Department."
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