A referendum which would have allowed Toms River Fire District 1 to consolidate two firehouses into a new, $14 million, three-story fire house failed to win voter approval Saturday.
According to Toms River officials, the vote failed with 554 “no” votes and 306 votes in favor of the project.
The fire district includes two firehouses in the downtown area of Toms River and the Ocean Beach firehouse. The proposal was to shut down the houses of Toms River fire companies 1 and 2 and build a new, 33,000 square foot firehouse that would accommodate all of the equipment currently being used in the two houses. The Ocean Beach firehouse would not have been affected.
The idea to build a new firehouse came after officials said maintenance costs were growing in the two firehouses, one of which is 104 years old. The firehouses are located on Water Street and Robbins Street.
The referendum was staunchly opposed by GOP council candidate Justin Lamb, who spent much of the day making calls to voters, asking them to vote down the measure, which would have raised fire taxes for some mainland neighborhoods as well as the entire barrier island, which is not served by either of the two companies which would have been merged.