HR firefighters right at home in new digs

March 14, 2012

The fire pole is back.

Hood River Fire Department is home again, after nine months in temporary quarters.

Firefighters have nearly completed moving into the new Ty Taylor Fire Station.

Last month, Corp Inc. Construction of Salem completed the $4.1 million project, made possible by construction bonds approved by citizens in 2008. A grant from Oregon Emergency Management for $291,000 paid for seismic construction measures.

The new fire hall features larger vehicle and apparatus bays and storage areas, improved training, storage and office areas, expanded quarters for duty crews and a large meeting room for community use.

Oh, and the traditional fire pole is back, after a 26-year hiatus.

The two-story, 21,000-square-foot building is nearly double the size of its 12,000-square-foot predecessor, which was built in 1976 and torn down last May. (Since April 2011 the department has been based across 18th Street at the public works complex, with temporary trailers for offices, and some equipment stored under tents and inside county structures.)

"Operations are fully moved in, and things are going really well," said Fire Chief Devon Wells. "We're still getting some of the systems of the building worked out, but all the firefighters are enjoying this new facility; the spaciousness of it. We're already making use of the space for training and meetings. It's good to be able to sit down together in a room with chairs and space for large groups.

"We really appreciate the support of the community in the transition over the past 10 months, and for the support of the bond measure," Wells said.

The new station includes a kitchen and sleeping quarters for personnel on duty, as well as more room for volunteers to work and train together.

Wells said the city plans a rededication and open house event on April 7.

The fence to the north of the fire hall property has been removed, allowing pedestrian access to and from the neighboring Hood River Aquatic Center, part of the new fire hall's updated role as a facility for the community to use, according to Wells.

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