GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
After nearly 50 years, Grand Junction Fire Station3 will replace the existing station that’s been in service since 1975, and the new location is right next door. GJFD Fire Chief Ken Watkins says, “We do a lot of time based studies to figure out where the best place to place a fire station based on response times, and really this location was still the best place.”
Pomona Elementary students were invited to the hose uncoupling ceremony to celebrate the new 10,000 square foot addition that’s twice the size of the older building and one of only two stations next to a school, but the fire engine and the crew were a no show. “It doesn’t matter if we’re having a ceremony to open a new fire station, or what. If the crew’s got to go, the crew’s got to go. So, they’ve been busy. We’ve had three fire calls this morning, and so, they’re not here cause they’re working,” said Chief Watkins.
A fire axe, art from local artists and students, and a picture from the 1975 Station 3 grand opening were also part of the ceremony. So were the two men from the photo 47 years ago, but the memories from serving the community feel just like yesterday. “Nobody was at the fire station. They were all called out so I took a truck, and I had a field, a trailer house, and several cars on fire all by myself,” said Lieutenant Ralph Erskine who fought fires for more than three decades.
Fire Station 3 is the third busiest station serving an area of approximately 19 square miles and more than 14,000 people. So, safety upgrades such as cancer prevention features are top priority. “The station was poorly designed for modern day fire service, and on of the pieces for that is making sure that our firefighters are safe,” said Watkins.
The official grand opening for Fire Station 3 will be on May 31. The new facility will house between 15 and 18 employees including fire fighters and ambulance crew.