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New Fairfax fire station set to open

VALLEY — The East Alabama Fire Department’s new fire station in the Fairfax community is nearing an opening date.

The contractor will be going over a punch list to make sure everything was built right and is fully operational.

“We are looking to have some kind of opening ceremony in late April,” said Assistant Fire Chief Kerry Pickard. “We hope to be fully operational at the new station by May 1.”

The new station gives East Alabama a very good chance to improve on its present ISO rating of 4.

The key factor here is that everyone within its service area will be within five miles of a fire station.

There are a few houses that fall outside this range, but they are within five miles of the Huguley Fire Department. With the two departments having automatic-aid agreements, that gets everyone covered.

Plans are to have three firefighters at the station 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A training chief will be there on Mondays through Fridays.

“We will have at least four
people there most of the time,” Pickard said.

The training facility is located on the historic Fairfax village green right next to the new fire station. It’s noted for its distinctive fire engine red roof. Outside is a wooden structure known as a burn building where firefighters can undergo training. It also serves for training for the department’s swift water rescue team.

Having a certified training facility will also be to East Alabama’s
advantage is seeking an improved ISO rating.

“We would love to go as low as we can,” Pickard said. “We’re also in the process of getting a new water truck. It will carry 3,000 gallons of water and will be going to places where hydrants may not be readily available.”

The new water truck will be joining of fleet of East Alabama vehicles that include four fire engines, a ladder truck and a brush truck.

East Alabama’s water rescue team has two boats and a trailer full of equipment.

“With what we have in the trailer and what we have on the fire trucks, we have over $100,000 in equipment for water rescues,” Pickard said. “Grants have helped us acquire a large cache of equipment, and we get good use out of it.”