Fire Station 3 reopens its doors

Contributed by Vincent Ho.
Contributed by Vincent Ho.

People near Fire Station 3 on Nov. 19 may have been shocked to hear the siren go off and see a firetruck start its engines.

It was a real 911 call, but may not have appeared so to guests celebrating the opening of the fire station at 1310 NW Circle Blvd. After all, the sirens went off in the middle of the event celebrating its reopening.

Despite the initial kerfuffle, a tour of Fire Station 3 continued on, celebrating the opening of its doors after months of construction. It is the first of the fire stations to finish its remodel.

Ben Janes, Fire Chief for Corvallis Fire Department, opened the ceremony with a speech addressing the construction and remodel.

“I remember first walking in when it was near completion,” said Jane. “Walking in the individual dorm, and saying ‘wow’.”

After Jane’s speech, a crowd entered to explore the station and talk with firefighters, many of whom had friends and family present. 

One such firefighter was Mike Maldonado, who is retired but began his firefighting career at Fire Station 3 in 1983.

“It had been opened up in 1977, so it wasn’t that old,” Maldonado said when asked about construction. “It was a really nice facility, but I was told that construction in the design was relatively temporary, that they were stock gap construction because they couldn’t really afford the building that they wanted.” 

Maldonado believes the chief did a good job taking the firefighters into account when they remodeled the building.

As guests walked through the garage, they could take photos sitting in fire trucks, and drinks and cookies were offered for anyone to enjoy.

One interesting component of the remodeled station is an upgraded gym for the firefighters. Joe Harder, an engineer paramedic at the fire department and acting lieutenant at station 3 on the day of the opening, said the gym was his favorite change from the old fire station. 

“It’s a big upgrade from what we had before,” Harder said. “We didn’t have a whole lot before so it was a nice change.”

Janes said that the biggest problem during remodels was figuring out how many of the fire trucks would be stored outside during the winter, but that having an extra bay saves time when going to put out fires in the shoulder seasons.

There were many signs situated all around the station, pointing out reasons for remodeling. There were also photos of what the fire station looked like before the construction.

For many firefighters, who work 48 hours at a time, the fire station is their home away from home, according to Jane.

Brett Loomis, Battalion Chief with Corvallis Fire Department, said the cost of maintenance of the facility was growing before the remodel because it was an older facility, and many of the changes in the remodeling will help that.

“We upgraded our fire station alerting capabilities for communications, our waiting communications and our systems,” said Loomis. “For example, the lights we are standing under, they are state of the art in regards to energy efficiency. They have motion sensors so when they are not used, they dim down.”

Tracy Yee, president of the city council, was in attendance, as she played a role in funding the citywide facilities improvement project, of which the fire station remodel was part.

“I’m really happy about all the facilities, the sleeping, eating and social areas because people forget to basically live here for days at a time,” Yee said. “When they can’t get adequate rest, they don’t have a good place to hang out or prepare food, it’s really stressful. They are not able to provide the best resources to do their job.”  

One of the major changes to the fire station was to make the station more equal for both genders.

“[The facility] was very dirty,” said Katie Davenport, firefighter paramedic. “One of the bathrooms that used to be in the women’s dorm used to be this box in the middle of the hallway, really noisy. It was small. It was designed for three people on shift here and we have five at minimum everyday now.”

Davenport expresses that she finds the living space to be a lot cleaner and that her favorite change to the station was the improvements made to the women’s dorm.

To find out about other citywide facilities projects, go here.

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