Visionary Fire Station Opens In West Point Saturday
Saturday, July 15th, 2017, will go down as a truly memorable day in the history of the Town of West Point.
After almost two decades of planning, preparation, fundraising, logistics, and construction, the Town of West Point held the much anticipated Grand Opening of their new, ultra-modern Fire Station and Community Storm Shelter.
This Community Open House ran from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. The ribbon cutting and opening ceremonies took place at 11:30 am sharp. Elected officials from across Cullman County, personnel from multiple area fire departments, and a high turnout of over 150 area residents were on hand.
During the opening ceremonies, several dignitaries climbed the stairs of the new fire station to speak from above the truck bay area.
The first group to provide memorable and congratulatory remarks to the gathered audience included Fire Chief Tim Martin, Representative Corey Harbison, Mayor Kenneth Kilgo and Mike Eddy. You can see and hear their words in this video:
The second group to speak were Cullman County Associate Commissioners Garry Marchman and Kerry Watson along with Sheriff Matt Gentry:
Immediately following the opening oratories, Mayor Kilgo led all in attendance out onto the front concrete runway area of the new fire station for an official ribbon cutting ceremony.
In the video below, you’ll see the actual ribbon cutting as well as hear from the super excited and understandably proud Mayor. Kilgo explains how this new community safety center came about. He also describes the long-term advantages and tremendous value this new fire station and community storm shelter bring to the West Point community:
This new facility replaces a 40-year building that housed much of this same equipment and personnel. The old building will be fondly remembered as a couple of closets acting as offices inside a drafty steel building next to West Point High School. Rented from the County School System, the original fire station has more than served its purpose and far exceeded its expected life span first occupied in 1976.
The idea for the new fire station hatched around the year 2000. In 2004, the first opportunity for this new facility presented itself. Ultimately, that project became abandoned due to a variety of land/building suitability and proper use issues. Thirteen years later, all those challenges are resolved, and those early ideas have come to fruition with this new facility.
Right at twenty staff members comprise the West Point Fire & Rescue personnel roster. Seven of those members are trained Emergency Medical Technicians. Somewhat unique to Cullman County, three of the department’s personnel are paid weekday staff working part-time. As a group, they respond to about 600 Cullman e911 calls per year … medical, fire, rescue, accident.
Intimately involved with every aspect of the planning, preparation, fundraising, logistics, and construction of this project, West Point Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Tim Martin along with Mayor Kilgo and the West Point Town Council have been the driving forces of this project.
From the beginning, Martin wanted to make sure the new public safety complex was profoundly forward looking with design, construction and contingency planning at least 30 years into the future. He and town leaders also wanted to ensure this facility could handle major disaster and weather events that might affect the entire community.
In this interview, Chief Martin and Assistant Fire Chief Roger Tew explain the deep thought processes, intense planning and 21st Century advantages baked into the design and construction of this truly spectacular fire station:
Randy Powe of Powe General Contracting was the general contractor of record for this state-of-the-art facility. He and his crews and subcontractors worked with relentless precision to complete the project:
“This is a great fire department. Their input and understanding of what they wanted to be made for a successful team effort. I have to say; these were great people to work for and with. This is no doubt the nicest fire building in the whole County.”
Immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony, the new, large community training and event room were opened for the first time for a citizen appreciation luncheon.
Jones Chapel businessman and friend of the West community Mike Eddy provided an all-you-can-eat buffet style BBQ meal. No one left hungry.
Chief Martin was kind enough to take us on a lengthy, detailed and complete tour of the facility before the Grand Opening. The talk about state-of-the-art equipment and 21st Century design and construction is all true. This new facility is smartly conceived and expertly equipped. Even the interior roof in the bay area above the fire trucks is fully finished; you will see no construction remnants or insulation hanging down in the future.
Here is a short list of the amenities that impressed us during our tour:
• Fast, direct access to Alabama Highway 157
• 8 inch thick concrete driveways and runways
• On-site diesel fuel tank
• Full building backup electric generator (natural gas powered)
• Five spacious fire truck bays
• 21st-century engine fume exhaust venting system in bay area
• Large decontamination sink and equipment
• Decontamination laundry area
• Full on-site Mako breathable oxygen system
• All-weather indoor ropes and Ladder training area (very cool)
• Four full bedrooms for the firefighter live-in program
• Eight people bunk sleeping area
• Firefighter kitchen
• Large firefighter training area
• Key card security doors for personnel entrance only
• Open daytime reception area for walk-in customers
• Firefighter training area and Community • Gathering Room
• Multiple storage rooms for chemicals, gear, and apparatus
• Steel and concrete encased ‘safe room’ on the first floor
At the end of the tour, Chief Martin spoke with great thanks and gratitude on behalf of himself and his entire department to the entire Town of West Point, its city leaders and everyone who had a hand in making this new, modern facility a reality:
“I have been involved with the West Point fire department for many, many years. Today simply would not be possible without the year after year support of our community. If it weren’t for our citizen’s members, the town council, Mayor Kilgo and everyone who put in a good word for this project, it simply wouldn’t have been possible.
Also, I would like to thank all of the previous fire chiefs and board members of the past for steering the department in a foward thinking direction. That incudes equipment and training. That set the foundation for the future. We are always looking for more help. Anyone interested can stop by and have and questions answered about what it takes to become a member of the fire department.
West Point Fire & Rescue sets very high standards high for most everything we do. We are very blessed the citizens of West Point appreciate and support for those standards. As a department – and personally – we are very proud of this new facility. We believe the community is proud of it as well!”
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West Point Fire & Rescue – Station #1