LONG BRANCH: One of the city's oldest firehouses will be renovated and reopened this year.
The West End Fire House, which closed about two years ago, will undergo renovations and be up and running by "spring, no later than summer," according to Long Branch firefighter Ron Booker.
Booker said the firehouse was closed for three main reasons; the consolidation of the city's volunteer fire companies, disrepair because of old age and the consolidation of fire department staff to fire headquarters at the Union Avenue Firehouse. The engine that was previously housed at the firehouse was also moved to the Oceanic Firehouse on Norwood Avenue.
It was originally thought that the firehouse would be taken offline, but he said the companies recently voted and agreed to renovate it.
The second floor of the building will be getting a complete interior renovation including new kitchen appliances and floors with new laminate wood.
"The house was built in the late 1800's and although it's gone through a few renovations over the years, it's showing it's age so we need to give her some love," Booker said.
He said if any resident would like to make a 1-time donation to help offset the renovation costs, it can be mailed to West End Engine Co #3, 595 Second Ave. Long Branch, NJ 07740. This fundraiser is being held in conjunction with the Long Branch Volunteer Fire Department Fund Drive for the city's nine fire companies.
Once the renovations are complete, the company will begin recruiting new members.
Booker said he has been overwhelmed by the amount of support from the community since the decision to reopen the firehouse was announced.
"We'd like to express our thanks and gradatude to the West End community for their outpouring of support for keeping the firehouse open," he said. "So many have reached out to us personally thanked us for staying."