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CALABASH—Now you see it; soon you won’t.
First thing Tuesday morning, a work crew from Whiteville began dismantling the aging Calabash Fire Department building on Persimmon Road. The department is making way for construction of a new station at the same site.
The new station will also take up land where the old Granny Allyn’s Restaurant stood at the corner of Persimmon and Thomasboro roads.
Last year, the department purchased the additional property. The longtime, popular eatery closed down at the end of the year and was eventually demolished earlier this year after being used and battered for a while for weekly fire training.
The Calabash fire board subsequently approved an $8,500 low bid from Ike Williamson Construction to tear down the old station, remove the asphalt parking lot, haul everything away and level the lot.
For now, the Calabash Fire Department is operating out of temporary quarters in a leased building that previously housed a medical office, at 602 Thomasboro Road, Calabash Fire Chief Randy Bork said Tuesday. The department moved to the temporary site last week.
A fundraising yard sale that took place during the same timeframe also did well and drew a crowd, Bork said.
Plans call for a new, 17,000-square-foot fire station to replace the department’s aging, faulty 8,800-square-foot one dating back 40 years ago.
The department is close to arranging financing for the new building, Bork said Tuesday.
“The builders are in place; financing should be done shortly,” he said. “We’re waiting to break ground.”
Closing for the new construction is scheduled at the end of November, Bork said.
“As soon as we close, the builder is ready to go,” he said, estimating construction of the new station will take eight to 12 months “depending on the weather.”
The dismantling crew is salvaging the station’s old building for use elsewhere.
“We’re recycling it more or less,” Bork said. “It makes me very happy someone is able to use it.”
The fire department’s move to its temporary site has been accompanied by a fire engine and first responder unit. Calabash Emergency Medical Services is providing two bays for additional vehicles.
The fire department can still be reached at its usual phone numbers and shipping address, Bork said.