Danville Central Fire Station holds grand opening

Published 8:49 pm Monday, August 29, 2022

Hundreds of locals gathered to celebrate the grand opening dedication ceremony of the new Danville Central Fire Station on Friday.

Governor Andy Beshear was in attendance, and was welcomed with a standing ovation from the crowd. He spoke about how the fire station will help not only Danville and Boyle County, but all of Kentucky.

“This new state-of-the-art facility is going to help the heroes who staff it around the clock to be more efficient in responding to disasters and emergencies in the future,” Beshear said.

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Beshear praised the local first responders in their efforts to help others, including in recent disasters like the Eastern Kentucky flooding in July, and the Western Kentucky tornadoes in December.

“I’m so proud to say that the Danville Fire Department was pivotal to rescue efforts not only in the east, but also in the west,” he said.

When the tornadoes hit western Kentucky, the Danville Fire Department sent crews to help with rescue efforts. In eastern Kentucky, Danville sent utility crews to help with repairing water lines, among other things.

“As unprecedented as that flooding was, the emergency response was also unprecedented,” Beshear said. “I think we had the best two, three, four day emergency response this country has ever seen. We lost 39 people, and that hurts, but we made over 1,400 rescues of individuals who would not be here otherwise today.”

After speaking, Beshear left for Frankfort to sign a bill that will provide $212 million for Eastern Kentucky flood relief and rebuilding.

Others in attendance that spoke at the ceremony were U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie, Danville Mayor Mike Perros, Commissioner Kevin Caudill, Fire Chief Doug Simpson, and Memorial Plaza artist Guy Tedesco. Singer Lydia Graham performed the National Anthem and “My Old Kentucky Home.” To watch the full ceremony, scan the QR to see a video on the City of Danville Youtube page.

The fire station had been in the works for about 10 years, starting when the Police Department moved out of the previous Central Fire Station into City Hall. It took almost two years of building.

The new $6.5 million facility has a huge fire engine garage on one side, and space for operations and housing on the other side. Firefighters led tours of the building after the ceremony.

In addition to modern offices, the building includes a training room, a TV room, full workout gym, and an infrared sauna for detoxifying after fires. Since some firefighters are required to live in the facility for a few nights each week, the building also has a full kitchen and dining area, a terrace with outdoor seating, and several dormitory rooms.

The facility is so large that it has room to hold other emergency response groups, like possibly the Boyle County Emergency Medical Services, or other fire groups. There’s also room to store additional equipment.

The basement runs the entire length of the building, and has enough room for storage and different activities. It also has a tunnel that connects to city hall, and a storm shelter that includes a bathroom. The shelter protects against tornado wind speeds of 250 mph three-second gusts. It also protects against missiles up to certain weights and speeds.

“This station will be a cornerstone in our community for many years to come and generations of students will learn about fire safety,” Simpson said. “Community groups and citizens will learn CPR and first aid in our wonderful training room. Our Firefighters will now have a state-of-the-art facility to call home and respond for our community.”

The station replaces the previous Central Fire Station, the Ryan, Crumb, Nelson Building, located just across the street. Simpson said that facility has outlived its useful life. The Fire Department needed to relocate because the building has many structural issues.

One thing that has yet to be constructed is the Memorial Plaza that will be in front of the fire station. Artist Guy Tedesco created a sculpture for the plaza that honors local first responders. He showed the sculpture, which is not totally complete, at the ceremony and spoke about its significance.

In April and May of this year, five locals had their arms cast in bronze. Their arms are holding up a piece of steel from the twin towers after they were hit on 9/11. Below it, local first responders’ thumbprints are cast in glass, and illuminated by colorful light.

Tedesco will be adding plaques to the bottom of the sculpture, and it will be installed when Memorial Plaza is built.

To see more photos of the fire station, scan the QR code or go to amnews.com.