Fire House dedicated during Little Norway Festival
Bert Stedman ‘cuts the ribbon’ at the new firehall dedication during the Little Norway Festival.
Community members flocked on Saturday to the grand opening of the new fire hall. The recently completed volunteer fire department Station One was a $6.7 million Capital Fund project. The new facility replaces the older, smaller downtown location.
“I was reflecting on the dreams we've had about having a facility that met the needs of the volunteer fire department here. I think it started in the 60s or something,” said Mayor Al Dwyer. “They even had a drawing, an artist rendering in 1978, when I showed up, but it never got built,” he added.
“Thanks to Bert Stedman being the co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, he stuck us in there and we had a vote. Anyway, at any rate next year there might be a new police station, if we can get him re-elected,” Dwyer said,
Stedman and his uncle Bill Stedman, whose father was a firefighter 90 years ago, assisted in decoupling a fire hose instead of the traditional ribbon cutting.
“I recognize that when people look at the station here, it looks very expensive. But I just want to assure you that this was only about 10 percent of the cost, because we had to build fire stations – six of them in Anchorage and other places around the state - for us to get our little piece of the pie,” said Stedman.
The only way Petersburg could get funding for the new fire station was for the state to build stations in several cities at the same time, he said.
Stedman added that he remembered the city's original fire station in the 1960s.
The station, at 1200 Haugen Drive, features state of the art equipment, and enough room to meet the department's needs from training to parking. The new fire house has the latest in communications technology, training rooms, a large kitchen, guest rooms, showers and a large bay that houses fire engines and ambulances.
The event on Saturday included tours of the facility, refreshments and raffle prizes.