East Ridge elected officials, firefighters and citizens gathered together Thursday morning for the grand opening on ERFD’s Station No. 2 on St. Thomas Street.
“In the fire service, instead of a ribbing cutting we do a hose uncoupling,” Fire Chief Mike Williams said as he and Mayor Brent Lambert uncoupled a 2 and one-half-inch fire hose to declare the station open for business.
A fire truck was ceremoniously driven out of one of the three bays of the new $1.5 million fire station prior to the colors being presented by the East Ridge High School ROTC Honor Guard. Favorite son Vince Dean, a former mayor who now serves the people of Hamilton County as the Criminal Court Clerk, sang the National Anthem.
Chief Williams emphasized that the fire station belongs to the people of East Ridge. He said that the firefighters were simply the “key-holders” and invited citizens to stop in and tour the new building.
He recognized the efforts of the architectural firm that designed the new hall, Terry Barker and Don Sells of River Street Architecture, and Skip Smith of J&J Contractors, the building’s project manager.
Mayor Lambert said that the grand opening of the new fire station was a special day in East Ridge. He noted that the old station was located about 1,200 feet away where Bass Pro Shops now sits.
“We are thrilled to have this building up and running,” Mayor Lambert said. “This building is dedicated to all the people of East Ridge.
Lambert said that the building was “very nice” and designed to be the home away from home of the firefighters stationed there.
Chief Williams said that ground was broken on the new facility on Nov. 18, 2016. On Dec. 21, 2017, was the unofficial opening of the building and firefighters began answering calls from Station No. 2. Chief Williams noted that on that December morning he cooked breakfast for all the firefighters at the hall and the department uphold a long fire service tradition of pushing a fire truck out of the bay doors.
Chief Williams said the strength of any city are its people and East Ridge was no different. In order for those people to thrive and feel safe in their homes they can rest assured that the East Ridge Fire Department is standing at the ready to protect lives and property.
“Our city has seen some big changes,” he said. “We’ve got economic development and our population is growing.
“What hasn’t changed is the dedication of the finest firefighters anywhere in this area.”