ALEDO — The move had been made and Aledo's new fire station is in business.|
The Aledo Fire Protection District moved seven vehicles into its new home two blocks from the old one Wednesday night. The department's 25 volunteer firefighters respond to emergencies in Aledo and Mercer County.
"We're really excited to be in," said fire chief Dennis Litwiler. "This is a great asset to our community."
The $1.2 million building nearly doubles the department's space, from 7,000 square feet to 12,000.
"The bay area is a lot bigger," said Chief Litwiler. "There was additional cost to the city for the concrete work."
The half-lot, still owned by the city, includes land directly west of the building that will be used as green space and the parking lot north of the station. When the city bought the lotseveral years ago for $60,000 from the Bud Henderson estate, part of the purchase stipulated Aledo could only sell the land to another public entity, such as the fire department.
"We paid the city $30,000 for the use of half of the lot," Chief Litwiler said. Additionally, the city will gain the old fire station property as part of the purchase.
The volunteer firefighters also helped contain the cost of the new station. The members bought and helped install the station's drywall, studding and flooring. He estimated at least 1,000 man-hours were provided by the members.
"When you get 25 guys together, certain men find a little niche in what they want to do," Chief Litwiler said.
"Everything on the east end of the building was finished and paid for by the firemen themselves," he said. "This has really been a good thing for our department."
The station includes two sets of bathrooms, a weight room, two community rooms, a full kitchen, a partial kitchen and several meeting rooms.
"We also took care of the cleaning to save some costs," Chief Litwiler said.
Chief Litwiler bought the wood and built the desk and cabinets in his new office. A member of the department since 1978, he became Aledo fire chief on Dec. 4, 2001.
The fire department averages 70 to 80 calls per year, including requests for lift assistance and accidents. The chief also said there usually are several false alarms each year.
An open house is tentatively planned for the new building this spring.
"We'd like to get the landscaping done before the open house," said Chief Litwiler.
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