A major milestone in the 111 year history of Estevan Fire Rescue took place on Saturday, as firefighters from around the southeast, dignitaries and the public gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the new fire hall, located in the former Murray GM building on 13th Avenue.
The ceremonies included a blessing from Pastor Geoff Thiessen, presentations from MLA Dan D'Autremont, MP Dr. Robert Kitchen, Mayor Roy Ludwig and Fire Chief Dale Feser, while Deputy Fire Chief Rick Davies read a letter sent in from former Fire Chief Rick Perry, who was unable to attend. A 'hose decoupling' served as the ribbon cutting, then firefighters and dignitaries ceremoniously 'pushed' an engine into the bay. Things ended with a cake cutting and refreshments.
"I think this is a great facility for these guys," said Tamara Greer, who was among the members of the public touring the building and taking in the ceremonies, "I'm actually surprised that they fit into the last one, it being so much smaller than this. This is great for our community, to have such a great fire hall, and I'm very happy for these guys. They deserve this."
She added that the fresh central location for Estevan's fire crews gave her an extra feeling of safety, knowing that they have the new functionality.
"This is a phenomenal facility. This is much larger, so next time we have to activate the OC, we may just be able to do it right here without disturbing and going to other facilities. It'll be really exciting to have everything under one," noted Helen Fornwald, Estevan's EMO Coordinator, "Home base would be right here for us."
"It's fantastic," shared Mayor Roy Ludwig, "We can't say enough what a great job our firefighters, staff, everyone came together to make this building not only a great location, but a great structure, and it'll serve us for many, many years to come."
Deputy Fire Chief Rick Davies was pleased with the new place as well.
"It's good to have it all done, it's good to be here. I'm glad everyone came here to share the day with us. There's much more room for us to utilize in the grand scheme of things for emergencies, a lot more room for training, a lot more room equipment and a lot more room for people. It's definitely going to be an advantage," he said, adding that there are already plans for expansion in the not too distant future.
"The big sense of accomplishment is actually having members of the public coming into the fire station just in awe of what we were able to accomplish. The countless, thousands of hours that the firefighters have volunteered to make this project happen takes it's toll not only on their personal lives, but on their work lives as well," expressed Fire Chief Dale Feser, who pointed out that those in attendance also included the Presidents of the Saskatchewan Association of Fire Chiefs and the Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighter Association.
He noted that the new hall will be much better equipped to handle larger scale emergencies in the future across southern Saskatchewan. When it comes to the lifespan they expect from it, Feser believes it will be a perfect base of operations long into the future, with potential for expansion.
"This is definitely a legacy we're leaving. It's not just done to honor those who have served the City of Estevan as a firefighter prior to, but also for the people that will be coming in and taking up our post once we're gone and retired," concluded Fire Chief Feser.