An old Milford firehouse will soon have a brand new use: It will become the second location for the Fire Engine Pizza Company.
Marty McCarthy bought the old firehouse on Melba Street from the city last year for $180,000 and is in the process of a major overhaul. He estimates the building will undergo almost a half million dollars in renovations before it’s ready to open, serving up brick oven pizza and more.

McCarthy has a restaurant in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, the Fire Engine Pizza Company, and when the old firehouse on Melba Street in Milford went on the auction block in recent years, he thought it would be a perfect location to expand.

The city tried unsuccessfully to sell the Melba Street firehouse starting in 2014, and ultimately took less than the $477,000 city leaders initially set as a minimum bid.

The first attempt was an auction in May of 2014, but no one showed up to bid, and Mayor Ben Blake said the asking price might have been a bit too high.

The Melba Street firehouse is one of two city firehouses that was closed in recent years when the new East Side Fire Station was built on New Haven Avenue, consolidating the Melba Street and the Kings Highway fire stations. The Borough of Woodmont is using the Kings Highway fire station for its new borough hall.

The Melba Street property, soon-to-be-pizza-restaurant, includes the former firehouse and land totaling approximately 20,000 square feet, located at 204 Melba Street, and acquired by the City of Milford on May 24, 1944.

During a second attempt to sell the firehouse and its bit of land, the city set no minimum bid. But when five bids came in from people wanting to buy it, Milford’s aldermen rejected all of them.

Marty McCarthy was one of those bidders.

But McCarthy didn’t give up after his bid was rejected and worked with the city to make a deal.

“Ideally this will be our flagship location,” McCarthy said.

The building is being painted red, replacing the pre-existing beige.

McCarthy couldn’t say when work will be done, but he said when it’s complete the eatery will seat about 100 people between the dining room and bar.

“We hope to be in Milford a long time,” he said.

The new restaurant will be nearly identical to the Fire Engine Pizza Co. in Black Rock, offering a full menu of pastas and other dishes as well as pizza.

“Widely known for specialty pizzas served from the 1985 International Fire Engine that was stationed on Fairfield Avenue, Fire Engine Pizza Co. was reinvented to bring together classic combinations with a modern twist,” the restaurant website states.

The Fire Engine Pizza Co. also has two repurposed fire trucks with a brick oven for mobile pizza making.