BY MATT VINE
Wyoming County Press Examiner
It’s been a little over a year in rehab following last year’s flood, but the Lake Winola fire station at Falls is about to reopen.
Lake Winola Fire Chief Martin Bonifanti, said that both the former social hall and station sustained major damages.
“The original station in the front had 5 feet of water and the hall behind had 2 feet,” Bonifanti said.
Today, the old Falls fire hall, which was used for community events and a meeting place id gone and in its place is a new 4-bay fire station.
The new station will feature an emergency meeting place for Falls and four new bays for the trucks and any other vehicle that the fire company has.
“The station is flood proof and our offices are raised, so that no water can seep in,” Bonifanti said.
The fire chief also mentioned that the company had to spend over a half a million dollars in remodeling the Falls station.
“The Sept. flood was the worst one ever for us,” Bonifanti said.
The fire company also has a station at Lake Winola just off of Rt. 307, and both stations serve Overfield, Exeter and Falls townships.
Richard ‘Butch’ Wilbur, former Falls fire chief said that after the flood, damages made to the fire station were “terrible.”
“This was my second flood at the station, and the damage was beyond comparison,” Wilbur, said, referencing the previous damage he had seen following Tropical Storm Agnes.
Wilbur joined Falls Fire Company in August of 1956. He had been the chief for more than 20 years.
“For a while, our company was able to be in business,” Wilbur said. “However, throughout the years, we had a hard time surviving.”
So, in 1996, Falls merged with Lake Winola Fire Company.
Wilbur said that when the merger happened, it was the greatest thing for the township.
Of the new building, Wilbur said he was thrilled with its completion.
“I hope that I will never see a Falls Fire House flooded ever again,” Wilbur said.
An open house for the new fire station is scheduled for early spring 2013.