It may not look like it, but the large structure taking the space of the former Fire Company 2 on Boonton Avenue is Kinnelon's newest firehouse.
The firehouse was designed by East Rutherford engineering firm Inglese Architecture and Engineering, spearheaded by owner Jak Inglese and managed by architect and Kinnelon Volunteer Fire Co. member Alex Merlucci. Merlucci said the natural-looking exterior, including stone and wooden features, was meant to make the firehouse fit in with its Fayson Lakes surroundings.
"I think that it really kind of fits in to what you see in this part of Kinnelon," Merlucci said.
The new Boonton Avenue firehouse replaces the firehouse that stood where the parking lot is now located since the 1950s. The new firehouse features a large, open bottom floor with an upper floor that houses bathrooms with showers, a multi-purpose room, corporate office space and more. The firehouse also features a third bay, while its previous space featured only two.
Only two trucks are currently housed at the firehouse, but Chief Kieth Pavlak said the extra space for the third bay may soon be filled.
"We're possibly looking at purchasing another piece of equipment," he said.
That piece of equipment is a six-wheeled trailer capable of carrying a stretcher. Other materials will also be stored in the third bay in coming months, including foam needed for the PSE&G power line project.
Despite the firehouse's two floors, the new Fire Co. 2 does not have a pole. Instead, it has several training features that will safely allow firefighters to get from the top level down. Merlucci even designed one special feature that will allow the firefighters to train on rope. Another feature, a door/window from in the upper floor multi-purpose room, will help firefighters train with ladders.
The contractor is still tying up some loose ends on the project and the building is still awaiting its permanent occupancy certificate. But Pavlak said trucks have been moved into the firehouse and the section of Kinnelon serviced by the fire company has never had a service interruption.
With one firehouse upgraded, Pavlak said he is confident that the borough's fire company will lower its Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating to help cut insurance rates for taxpayers. Once that is achieved, Pavlak said the fire company will be looking to upgrade the firehouse on Kiel Avenue, built in 1939.
"That was the very first firehouse in Kinnelon," Pavlak said.