Fifty-year-old Hansville Fire Station demolished

HANSVILLE —  After nearly 50 years of serving the community in two different capacities, the apparatus bay of the old Hansville Fire Station was demolished last week.

A structural inspection by the Kitsap County Department of Community Development in late April revealed cracks in the facility’s walls and the county cited it unsafe for occupancy. It had been used by the Hansville Community Church as offices and a youth center since 2001, when property owner North Kitsap Fire & Rescue moved out and into its new station up the street.

However, when the orange “condemned” signs went up on the doors in May, the church was forced to move.

NKF&R officials and Pastor Greg Uvila discussed selling the property to the church but it wasn’t financially feasible. The church had been paying the fire district $1 a year for the lease, but it was recently cancelled after it was determined the building needed to be condemned.

The county told NKF&R officials that the structure’s apparatus bay needed to be fixed or demolished. The adjacent offices were in satisfactory condition.

Estimates to repair the apparatus bay exceeded what the district felt it could have gained by selling the property, said NKF&R Fire Chief Paul Nichol. The fire department is taking responsibility for demolition of the property to rid itself of any liability.

“Either way, we had to do or (the next owner had to) do it,” Nichol said about the demolition.

Carl Zimmer, who owns Zimmer Construction and also helped build the fire station in 1961, was on hand to assist with the demolition prep work.

“I helped build it so I think I ought to take it down,” Zimmer said, noting he recalls being paid $20 a day to help erect the station.

This was the second fire station for the community — the first one was a building rescued from a dilapidated Mosquito Fleet pier that rested just off the shores of Hansville in the early 1950s, Zimmer said, before a fire district was officially formed in 1956.

When word came down about the future of property’s condition in June, Pastor Uvila was disappointed but also saw it as a blessing in disguise as it prompted his congregation to work toward building new church facilities on its 19-acre parcel on Hansville Road, next to Pegasus Lane.

“It’s the classic one door closes and another one opens,” Uvlia said. “It’s pushing us up to the property even more.”

For now, the church is “scrambling to make do,” Uvila said, but members want to start talks with the county about permitting their undeveloped parcel.

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