Edgecomb fire station’s planners reunite over plaque

Posted:  Friday, October 6, 2017 - 6:45pm

Edgecomb Fire Chief Roy Potter said Oct. 5, Jack Sarmanian was missing that night’s unveiling of a plaque for the fire station because the selectman was doing just as he and many other residents had done to get the station built: Volunteering.

Potter said in an interview before the ceremony, Sarmanian, a longtime Red Cross volunteer, called that morning and said he was getting on a plane for Las Vegas for his latest Red Cross dispatch, this time helping people through the crisis of the Oct. 1 mass killing at Mandalay Bay. It was incredible of Sarmanian to be doing that, Potter said.

“He was the big push behind us doing this plaque and he was really excited about being here,” Potter told attendees who moved outside the station for remarks and the removal of a red cloth covering the new bronze plaque, mounted earlier in the week. The plaque reads in part: “This building is dedicated to all the volunteer firefighters who have served this department and their community since 1941 ... It is with a sense of accomplishment and pride that the town dedicates this new fire station for the betterment of the fire department and the community.”

The plaque lists Potter, then-Assistant Chief Laurence Omland – now deputy director of emergency management in Boothbay Harbor — and past fire chief Barry Johnston; building committee members Sarmanian; Omland; Suzanne Carlson; James McQuaide, now of Bath; Ron Carey; Michael Smith, now a selectman; and Jack French. It notes architect John Hansen, contractor The Penobscot Company and the selectmen at the time, Sarmanian, Stuart Smith and Jessica Chubbuck. The name of past selectman John Johnson, who died in 2011, appears also.

Potter said the station was dedicated on the date that appears on the plaque, May 20, 2012, but a flag pole and other things were needed so the plaque took longer to get. The department’s auxiliary raised the money for it, Potter said Friday.

Smith’s remarks Thursday night recounted the work of getting the station, from picking the site to funding the project. Smith recalled Potter wondering if Edgecomb could follow Casco’s lead in using tax-increment financing (TIF) funds on a fire department project. Edgecomb voters approved it and now that’s what’s paying the mortgage, Smith said. “So the taxpayers benefited hugely, in so many ways.”

Smith called on Potter to “unveil this bad boy,” the plaque. Then Smith read the plaque. Sarmanian, the committee’s chairman, had planned to, Smith said. Applause followed the reading.

Years after the committee finished its work, members interviewed inside the station Thursday night remained pleased with the result. “I am so proud of it,” Carey said. “It turned out to be everything and anything we could have expected or hoped for, really.”

The plaque’s unveiling was timed with the department’s annual open house.

Edgecomb resident Amanda Main, having a chocolate chip cookie, said she brought daughter Gaby, 6, son Andrew, 4, and a friend of theirs to the event because the children love fire trucks. 

Asked what she thought of the station, Main said, “I think it’s great. Edgecomb definitely needed it.”

Most who came were building committee members or current or retired Edgecomb firefighters. Husband and wife Edgecomb firefighters Marc and Amanda Babineau had Bailey, their 3-month-old-old lab mix, with them.

Johnston said he was very impressed with the station and the department. “We’re very proud of the support the town has given the department,” he added. He had just been talking with Capt. Steve Fenton, who’s gotten the department a number of vehicles and other equipment over the years. The station makes an excellent nucleus for the department and its equipment, Fenton said.