Decatur Fire & Rescue began operations at the new Station 5 at Danville and Modaus roads Southwest on Wednesday, leaving behind what was the city’s oldest active fire station a mile away.
Deputy Chief Nathan Springer said a crew was dispatched from the new station for the first time on a medical call Wednesday between 8 and 9 p.m. By Thursday afternoon, they had been dispatched on about five calls.
The old station is located at the corner of Danville Road and Presbyterian Drive Southwest and was built in 1962. Springer said they still have to move some items from the old station.
“We’re fully functional out of (the new station) and should be completely out of that building by (today),” he said.
Springer said the new location gives the firefighters better access to the areas they cover in the city.
“We also have a lot more room with the size of the apparatus. We were pretty much outgrowing that (old) station,” he said.
The new station has a 4,800-square-foot engine bay that will hold two firetrucks, whereas the old engine bay had only a few inches of clearance when one firetruck was parked. The old station, including its engine bay, is 3,077 square feet while the new station is 8,729 square feet.
The new station has drive-thru engine bays, unlike the old station where crews had to stop Danville Road traffic so they could back the firetrucks into the single engine bay.
Lt. Michael Bowling, logistics finance officer for the fire department, said the extra space is a welcome change for the crew.
“Every firehouse is utilized the same and using this new building allows this crew to spread out,” he said. “When that (old) station was built … we had the open barracks where everybody was right on top of each other.”
The new station includes 15 small bedrooms large enough for a nightstand and single-sized bed. Crews consist of four firefighters who work 24 hours on and 48 hours off.
Also included in the new station, and not present in the old, is a storage room for turnout gear. The room doubles as a tornado shelter, the only one in a Decatur fire station. There is also a decontamination room, five offices, a spacious kitchen and a day room and outdoor patio, both with televisions.
Bowling said the new building is a great face for public safety in Decatur.
“There’s several things that people look at when moving into a city. Public safety is one of the key things people look at, and the citizens are going to benefit from this new house,” he said.
The old station was bought in April for $226,500 by Chase Grisham, broker of the Grisham Group of EXP Realty. Springer said once they have everything moved out of it today, they will hand the station over to Grisham.
Deputy Chief Ashley England was with the crew at the new station Thursday afternoon.
“They love it so far,” he said. “It’s like moving into a new house after you’ve lived in the old one for a long time.”
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