No more umbrellas for firefighters

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 13:52 01/12/2012

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It's been 14 years in the pipeline, but the Palmerston North Fire Station's $2 million makeover is finally complete.

Among the guests at the function to celebrate the work yesterday were New Zealand Fire Service Commission chairman Wyatt Creech, Mayor Jono Naylor, MPs Ian McKelvie and Iain Lees-Galloway, police Central District commander Superintendent Russell Gibson and fire service life members.

Assistant fire area manager Roger Calder told the gathering the idea to refurbish the station was first raised in 1998, but it did not gain traction until 2010, when they realised the station did not adequately meet their needs.

Before work could start, the leaky roof needed to be fixed, at a cost of $500,000.

Plans for the station were made in consultation with fire station officers, and work started on the building in January this year.

It was finished at the end of July, but the last of the rubbish from the refurbishment was not cleaned out until last week.

During the refurbishment, small cabins were brought in to be used as sleeping quarters and offices out the back of the building, and fire fighters were given umbrellas to keep them dry on the way to the engine bay on rainy nights.

Among the changes are a central stairway allowing access from the second floor down to the engine bay. Previously, officers had to use stairwells at either end of the corridor.

Sleeping quarters have been extended by enclosing the former balcony, and 8.5km of cable has been laid throughout the building.

For life member Wayne Donald it was the newly refurbished gym that was the most impressive change.

Mr Donald was a firefighter with the Palmerston North brigade when it moved into the new building from the old Cuba St premises in 1976.

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- Manawatu Standard

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