Open house planned for Fire/EMS facility expansion
The public is invited to attend an open house and “fire hose uncoupling ceremony” Thursday, February 9, at 3:30 p.m. for the City’s expanded Fire/EMS station at 900 W. Myrtle.
The event will include a flag-raising by representatives from VFW Post 1186; a helicopter fly-in by Med Flight air ambulance service; and free hot dogs and chips provided by Atmos Energy. The fire hose uncoupling ceremony, a traditional ritual in lieu of a ribbon cutting to signify the opening of a new fire station, will be conducted, and tours of the facility will be offered.
“We are excited to welcome the public to our newly expanded station where we are now centralized and fully equipped to serve our community in the most efficient way possible,” said Fire/EMS Chief Shawn Wallis.
The City broke ground in April 2022 for the expansion project, which added nearly 11,000 square feet to the existing Fire/EMS apparatus facility. The addition accommodates a drive-through bay for the department’s Tower 1 fire truck as well as new areas for supplies; equipment cleaning and disinfection; living quarters; offices; a large new kitchen and a fitness room. The facility also includes new classroom and training space that will allow the City to host on-site educational programs for first responders from area communities.
The open house event also will feature the debut of the community’s latest bronze statue contribution from the Lucille Gibson Thompson Trust, “Young Firefighter Boy,” depicting a boy in firefighter’s gear displayed in the station’s lobby.
Another significant community contribution was made to the facility by students in the Independence High School woodshop class taught by Al Speicher. The students built 10 wooden beds for the staff’s living quarters which will eventually feature Fire/EMS patches engraved on the footboards.