Photo Lynn Sferrazza
The Poquonok Bridge firehouse is in a budget crisis
Groton's Poquonock Bridge Fire Station is in a bad spot – the board that oversees the firehouse says it's in the middle of a financial crisis and may have to shut down.
Residents are apprehensive and say the firehouse's closure could have a ripple effect.
"That could be disastrous," said Floretta Sheffield of Mystic. "It would leave people without any kind of protection."
It's the largest of Groton's nine fire districts and most centrally located, serving a number of residential and commercial properties in the area.
"It is strategically located so really, any fire district that needs any assistance, one of the first folks they're going to call is PB because their physical location," said Groton Town Manager Mark Oefing.
Poquonock Bridge Fire District President Alan Ackley sent a letter to the state Office of Policy and Management two days ago, seeking advice and asking for help.
Ackley's letter says "the district will not have sufficient funds to meet operating expenses, including payroll, beyond February 1st."
Trouble started in July, when funding was cut and a significantly lower budget approved.
Historically, the department has operated on about $4.6 million, but now it's working with $3.5 million.
The station can't afford to fix a ladder truck that stopped working about two years ago. It has to rely on other departments to help out.
An Office of Policy and Management spokesperson says there are plans to schedule a meeting with the fire district board to work toward establishing a balanced budget.
But time is of the essence, because if a new budget doesn't come through by February, the department could have no choice but to close its doors.