June 29, 2022

Deep River Firefighters Disappointed By Referendum Results

DEEP RIVER— Volunteer firefighters were expressing disappointment Wednesday after a proposed $2.4 million renovarion and expansion of the main firehouse failed by 35 votes in a bonding referendum Tuesday.

The firehouse project was rejected on a 347-312 vote after eight hours of balloting. The turnout was low, with a total vote of 659 from the town’s 3,142 registered voters.

Bob Raymond, chairman of the building committee for the Deep River Volunteer Fire Department, said he was “extremely disappointed,” by the referendum result. He said firefighters are uncertain of the next step after the second referendum defeat for the expansion project. A larger $3.8 million project was rejected by a wide margin, 766-229, in a November 2007 referendum.

“I’m going to just digest this and discuss it with the department and see where we go from here,” Raymond said, adding that he had been “cautiously optimistic” the project would win approval. The expansion project appeared to have the support of about 40 residents who turned out for discussion at a July 1 town meeting. “I felt we had the support of the townspeople,” Raymond said.

Raymond said there are no immediate plans to ask the board of selectmen to schedule another referendum on the project later this year, despite the narrow margin in Tuesday’s result. The building project would have added about 7,000 square-feet of space, including a an additional vehicle bay and a meeting/training room, to the firehouse at the corner of Union and Elm streets. The firehouse was constructed in 1961.