The 57th Street Firehouse, a 90-year-old structure at the corner of Avenue B, is currently undergoing a long-awaited three-phase renovation that is expected to jumpstart one of the oldest-serving fire facilities in the city.
The project’s first and second phases have been completed, according to Bayonne Fire Chief Keith Weaver. The first phase, which was completed at the end of last year and undertaken by Journey Contracting, consisted of replacing the roof. The second phase, with contractor Three Sons Restoration at the helm, involved new windows, exterior brickwork, and interior lighting.
Weaver said that the city council awarded a contractor for the last phase of construction at a recent city council meeting. That phase will see the replacement of the “concrete fire apparatus floor and concrete around the building,” according to Weaver.
“That firehouse was designed in 1928,” he added. “The weight of the apparatus on the floor caused the floor to deteriorate. There were slight sags in it, and it needed to be replaced for it to be able to hold the heavier apparatus that we’re riding around in today.”
In addition to the poor condition of the floor, Weaver said that there were continuous leak problems through the exterior brickwork and roof that could no longer be resolved by short-term fixes.
There was always “ongoing maintenance and upkeep,” Weaver said, “but to my knowledge, this is the first major renovation of this type.”
“We’re all anxious to reopen and rededicate the 57th Street Firehouse “– Fire Chief Keith Weaver
An uptown institution
While Weaver can’t guarantee the exact date of the project’s completion, he emphasized that if things remain on schedule, it could be finished in the fall. He’s looking forward to reopening the old firehouse. “It protects the northern area of Bayonne and serves as a quick access to all aspects of uptown,” Weaver said.
The 57th Street Firehouse also housed additional pieces of equipment that are used often, as well as the Hazardous Materials Unit, according to Weaver. The unit, along with Engine Company 6 and Ladder Company 3, hastemporarily relocated to the newest firehouse, near Route 440 on the western edge of the former Military Ocean Terminal.
“Certainly the living conditions there are OK,”Weaver said, “but at the end of the day, we’re all anxious to reopen and rededicate the 57th Street Firehouse, so that it can serve the community for at least 75 years, maybe beyond.
“It’s an important piece of Bayonne,” he concluded.“It keeps the citizens safe, and we look forward to reoccupying that in the near future.”