2017-09-28 / News

Caution lights come from FD supporters

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer


Biddeford Fire Department members plan to have the new caution lights in front of the station on Alfred Street operational within the week. The project was completed thanks to donations from William Denyer and others in honor of his late wife. (Grant McPherson photo) Biddeford Fire Department members plan to have the new caution lights in front of the station on Alfred Street operational within the week. The project was completed thanks to donations from William Denyer and others in honor of his late wife. (Grant McPherson photo) BIDDEFORD – Caution lights have been installed in front of Biddeford Fire Department on Alfred Street thanks to donations from area residents.

Geraldine Denyer died Friday, Dec. 16 at Maine Medical Center after battling Parkinson’s disease. She fell several times at her home on Pinewood Circle before her death, said her husband William Denyer, and she became fond of the Biddeford Fire Department members who came to her assistance. William Denyer said on her last birthday, June 8, Biddeford firefighters and paramedics sang “Happy Birthday” to her as they put her back in bed.

“Geraldine would be happy, no question,” he said. “She wanted her firemen to get what they needed. They were awfully good to her, every time.”

In lieu of flowers, William Denyer asked friends and family to make a donation toward the purchase of the new lights. A total of $10,500 was raised and covered the entire cost of the lights. A plaque will be placed on the light pole in honor of Geraldine Denyer once the lights are operational, which is expected to be within the week.

Biddeford Fire Department members have wanted lights in front of the station on Alfred Street, built in 1990, for several years said Fire Chief Scott Gagne. Funding for lights went before the city council about five years ago but it was rejected. Gagne said there haven’t been any accidents in front of the station, but there have been many close calls.

“Our main goal is to avert something before it happens and make our operations safer,” he said. “We’re hidden up on the hill. People don’t see us coming down the driveway.”

The entrance to the station is next to Portland Glass, which trucks often park in front of to unload, further limiting visibility for fire trucks leaving the station. The afternoon sun also poses a problem for drivers on Alfred Street heading toward Five-Points. The new lights will flash as emergency vehicles prepare to leave the station, signaling drivers to slow down.

The lights are part of a broader traffic alert system put in place by the Biddeford Fire Department. At five intersections within Biddeford, there are transmitters on traffic lights that allow firefighters to change the color of the lights from red to green, to allow traffic to move out of the way of emergency vehicles. The fire department has identified 14 intersections it would like to update to allow for traffic control transmission. The cost of updating a four-way intersection is about $15,000, according to Assistant Chief Paul LaBrecque. He said funding for the new caution lights in front of the station were not the first time the department has received donations.

“Most equipment is so expensive, our budget can’t afford to buy them so we reach out to the general public,” LaBrecque said.

The fire department received donations to purchase thermal imaging cameras and to help build its fire safety house. The portable house on wheels fills with smoke and is used as an educational tool to remind children to stay low if they’re ever trapped in a burning building. The fire safety house and other activities will be available at the department’s open house, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at the station on Alfred Street.

The new caution lights in front of the station were one of a few projects the city didn’t fund, Gagne said.

“In general the city is very helpful in making sure the department has what it needs to operate,” he said.

In this case, someone else got what they needed too.

“Geraldine gets her lights up,” William Denyer said.

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