NORTH WILDWOOD - North Wildwood plans to demolish the volunteer firehouse, at 15th Street and Central Avenue, and renovate its paid fire company’s home, to accommodate the volunteer department’s men and equipment, Mayor Patrick Rosenello said Feb. 4.

“By having the volunteers go to the same building as the paid department, it’s going to allow us to respond to fires more efficiently, by having volunteers and paid members working together to get equipment to the scene of the fire,” Rosenello told the Herald.

The main firehouse, between 4th and 5th streets, on New Jersey Avenue, houses the city’s paid firefighters; however, with volunteers not responding to that firehouse, North Wildwood’s paid firefighters were sometimes stretched too thin.

“The problem is you need at least four fully certified firemen to respond to a fire,” Rosenello said. “We’ve had situations where you’ve had two volunteers going to 15th Street, two paid guys going to 5th Street, and you can’t get the equipment out.”

Bids are being submitted for the renovation project. Once that is done, Rosenello said the plan is to tear the volunteer firehouse down, and sell the property for residential development.

Five Mile Beach is in the early stages of talks to consolidate fire and emergency medical services between North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and Wildwood.

“This plan was in the works long before that consolidation discussion came up, but it fits. It would fit in with that plan,” explained Rosenello. “I don’t see how what we’re doing would interfere with any future consolidation plans.”