Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May said before being torn down to make way for a new facility, Fire Station No. 3 had gotten to the point where “it almost should have been condemned.
“The mayor here was talking about it, but we’re thankful that we were able to accommodate this new facility,” May said. “I have long stated that the quality of life of any county rests on the foundation of its public safety apparatus and we have to make sure that people are living safe and secure lives.”
May and other city and county officials were present June 19 to break ground on the new fire station facility, located where the old one stood at 24 North Clarendon Ave.
Residents, city officials and public safety personnel have been calling for a new station to be built for more than a year. Before it was torn down to make way for the new station, Avondale Estates Mayor Ed Reiker said the old facility was in disrepair for years.
“It [was a] rotted out building with asbestos in it and the roof caving in,” Rieker said. “The females didn’t have their own restroom and the [firefighters] live and work there.”
The previous fire station was built in 1949. DeKalb County Fire Chief Darnell Fullum said he hopes the new one will last just as long and remain in good condition.
“I’d like to thank the commissioners and the interim CEO for their unwavering support for public safety and this is a demonstration of their support,” Fullum said. “There are three things that will make a fire chief smile any day and that’s more firefighters, more equipment, and a new fire station, so I’m smiling today.”
As Fullum spoke, the fire truck belonging to station No. 3 was parked behind him. Fullum said the truck also will be replaced with an upgraded vehicle within the next several weeks. The new station will have three bays for fire engines, a community room and private accommodations for male and female firefighters.
“This station, though it sits in Avondale, runs approximately 80 percent outside of Avondale so it supports not only the city but the community as a whole,” Fullum said.
Avondale Mayor Pro-Tem Terry Giager said the new station will bring a lot of support to firefighters and improve morale. Several months ago Avondale resident Tami Willadsen, 43, and her 10-year-old daughter Jess died in a fire that broke out at their Lakeshore Drive home.
“We’ve recently had a tragedy here, but we are just very thankful of all the support in making this come to fruition,” Giager said.
May said the new station will be complete no later than spring 2015.
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