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Northwest Greenwich GEMS Outpost Condemned

As Greenwich officials continue their post-Hurricane Sandy damage assessment of the town's facilities and infrastructure, they find yet another structure must be replaced.

 

Damage caused during Hurricane Sandy to the northwest Greenwich outpost for Greenwich Emergency Medical Service (GEMS) on King Street has prompted the town's Building Department to condemn the facility.

Last week, Medic 4 moved into temporary quarters at Camp Seaton, the facility owned by the Boy Scouts, on Riversville Road. "I have to give complete credit to the Boys Scouts  for giving us some of their space. They are very gracious," said GEMS Deputy Director Arthur Romano. "It is a very spartan existence with cots, a television, table and chairs."

But more importantly, Romano said, "We are able to maintain our response times."

Until the move to Camp Seaton on Nov. 14, Medic 4 staff used a room loaned to them by Greenwich Woods Nursing Home on King Street, Romano said.

The crew relocated there Oct. 29—the night Sandy pummeled the region with 80mph winds and rain. That rain pouring onto an already leaky roof of the Medic 4 station— a red brick house at 1327 King St., adjacent to the town-owned Griffith E. Harris Golf Course—caused structural damage.

According to Romano, the leaking rain caused a weight-bearing interior brick wall to buckle. "We had the building department come in to assess whether it could be repaired. They condemned the building," Romano said. Temporary fixes to the leaky roof over the years included the tacking of tarps onto it.

Major repairs were put on hold as town officials continued their efforts to build a permanent firehouse and GEMS outpost in the northwest corner of town. The 1327 King St. site has been ruled out because wetlands precludes construction of a large enough for a combined station. (The town is considering three other properties—on King Street, Riversville Road and on John Street.)

Meanwhile, at last week's Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, the town's Superintendent of Facilities, Alan Monelli, received approval to demolish 1327 King St. and erect a trailer as temporary quarters for the paramedic and EMT assigned to the Medic 4 crew, according to First Selectman Peter Tesei.

The variance to place the trailer on the King Street property is good for one year. If needed, the town will have to seek approval for an extension of the variance, Tesei said.

GEMS established the Medic 4 crew November 2002 to reduce response times to emergencies in the northwest Greenwich sector of town, especially in the King Street area. Originally, it was a daytime only assignment. It was expanded to round-the-clock coverage in July 2010, according to Romano. Last year Medic 4 responded to 1,093 medical emergencies.

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