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Sandy Fire getting its house in order

by: Garth Guibord, The Sandy Fire District plans to make good use of the house it owns.

A few months ago, the old house on Bruns Avenue at the intersection of Pioneer Boulevard was run-down and boarded up.

Locals traveling on Pioneer probably have noticed quite a turnaround at the house over the past several weeks.

So the question is: What's going on over there?

Since the Sandy Fire District owns that property, we asked the person who would have an answer, Fire Chief Gary McQueen.

'What we're doing is turning it into a useable space,' McQueen said. 'We've owned the building for about six years, I think, and now we're proceeding with sprucing it up a bit.'

The house has new siding and new windows. It will get a paint job, a new interior frame, new gutters and wiring for telephone, television and Internet in the coming weeks.

Electrical and plumbing is done, and after insulation is installed this week, sheet rock installation will begin.

'Some of the work was done by our own people a few years ago,' McQueen said. 'It's been going on for quite a while; it's nice that it's getting to the point where we're going to use it.'

Once work on the house is done, the fire district plans to use it for training. First aid and CPR classes may take place there, as well as fire district board meetings.

The 1,600-plus-square-foot house contains a small kitchen area, a restroom, a couple of storage rooms and a basement. For now, 'It's only going to be used for meetings, training and storage,' McQueen said. But he's not ruling out the possibility of the house becoming the designated emergency operations center for the Sandy area.

'We don't know what's going to happen with the main fire station,' McQueen said. 'Obviously there's some seismic needs. If there's major remodeling or construction at that site, we'll use (the house) as the headquarters in the interim period.'

Apparently, this house isn't your ordinary shack that's been transformed into a fire station annex.

'It's got to have a colorful past,' McQueen said, noting that he could discern that the house has had at least one fire - maybe two.

'The story goes … it used to be a two-story house,' the chief said. There still are floor joists on the ceiling, which proves that theory.

'It may have been a pretty spectacular fire that took (the second story) out,' McQueen said. Locals say the fire - which was across the street from the fire station - took place about 40 years ago.

Other oddities about the house include a large phone switchboard that was left in the basement of the house when the fire district took possession.

There also was a Hollywood model-maker known only as 'Mr. Lann' who lived in the house.

'I heard the story that one day … my dad and several other guys were invited to come over to Mr. Lann's house to see a small cannon he had made in his basement,' McQueen said. 'The guy actually fired the cannon into bales of hay in the basement of the house.'