It’s Official. The Lenny Smith Central Fire Station Renovations are Finished

July 14, 2017


by Len Lathrop

The apron was crowded with firefighters, present and past, family and friends as the Hudson Fire Service hosted them with dignitaries from the Hudson Selectmen, both current and former, and New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper, listening to various speakers who spoke about the renovation.

As Hudson Chief Buxton addressed the gathering he mentioned that the celebration is fitting for the completion of the renovation at the Lenny Smith Central Fire Station, but also the celebration of our 125th anniversary as an organized fire department.

Buxton’s remarks told the story of the station.  “As I was preparing for today it came to me that the merging of these two events in our history actually work very well together, as the Lenny Smith Central Fire Station is the house that the community built.  From the hand-drawn blueprints that were drawn by Lenny Smith himself that we reviewed at the beginning of the project, to the craftsmanship that cannot be matched by today’s standards.  We can see the problem- solving that was taking place in October of 1952 as the Hudson Fire Department worked through a true design build.  From the 18-inch thick concrete floor that was cut out for the new staircase that leads to the second floor to the raising of the overhead doors that had hand-poured cement headers.  This building is strong and continues to remain strong and will service the community of Hudson into the future.  As a true municipal complex in 1952, this building housed not only the fire department but the police department and the Board of Selectmen’s office, with a large meeting room on the second floor.

When you sit back and think about 125 years of history you cannot help but think about our past.  Our past is a great part of this community.  What started out with a group of people who came together to serve and protect the community, blossomed into a way of life that was passed down from generation to generation.  The sense of belonging and giving back to the community that provides a place for us to live, an education for your family or simply a social network that helped you pass the time.  It was part of the fabric of who we were.  From the Campbell, Nutting, Buxton, Carter, Jasper, Shepard, Blinn, Collishaw, Silver, Mason and Morin families you have left us an organization that we are truly lucky to be part of.“

The chief thanked those who made the renovation project possible.  “To Selectmen Richard Maddox and Roger Coutu who grabbed onto this idea and helped us scope it into a project that we could successfully gain the support of the Board of Selectmen and bring to completion.  To our building committee, I thank you for all of the time and effort you put into this project.  To our partners, Kelly Davis from Port One Architecture and Gary Thomas from North Point Construction, who accepted our challenge and made our vision become a reality.  To the citizens of Hudson, thank you for your support and willingness to help us improve the community through this project.  Finally to our employees whose support never wavered from the moving, to the dust, to the day room on the apparatus floor I say thank you.  We certainly could not have accomplished this without you.“

The roughly $1 million renovation approved by voters in March of 2015 included new apparatus doors to accept the newer-designed trucks which are generally taller than the older fire equipment; inside the station was completely redesigned for better ergonomic patterns for firefighters and a securer building with ADA access for the public.  Energy-saving practices were included from LED lighting which works off sensors to come on and go off with motion detectors.  Using the superstructure of the 1952 building changes were made for a new kitchen and dining room, adding a meeting and training room and a new physical training room.

As part of the celebration, Speaker Jasper presented a proclamation from the House of Representatives and told a couple of stories about his over-20 years of service to the department as a call member.  One of the tales was about the overhead door getting closed on the tiller of the ladder truck, breaking the door and sending glass all around the station.  Firefighter Jeff Sands, president of the union, mentioned the number of times in recent years when the door of the squad met with the doorway, even pointing to an event involving a former Fire Captain, now a selectman.

After several speakers, a hose across the apparatus door was disconnected by Chief Buxton with assistance from Retired Deputy Chief Harry Chesnulevich.