By Morgan Murphy
For the Opelika
The Opelika Fire Department held a grand opening/ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new Station No. 1 last Wednesday.
The event began with a prayer from Pastor Isaac Nunn as well as an introduction from Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.
Chief Byron Prather followed by acknowledging past and present members of OFD, thanking them for their hard work.
“We are blessed with a lot of history here and a lot of dedicated men who worked and dedicated their lives to this job,” Prather said.
Former Fire Chief Albert Smith, fire chief from 1978-1990, shared his thoughts on the new building.
“This is an honor for me to be here, and it was an honor to work with this fire department…this is an honor for me to see,” Smith said.
The ceremony ended with a ribbon cutting in front of the new building and the doors were open for the public to tour the inside of the station.
The new building holds larger offices, dorms, a conference room, and much more to house a full shift of 70 people. This facility will now bring together firefighters,emergency medical services personnel, as well as training and inspection officers under one roof.
Fuller said the new facility will serve as a symbol of gratitude to both the department and its staff for their service to the community.
“They deserved a new, better facility for a long long time…it was a way for us to say we appreciate what you’re doing,” Fuller said.
When asked about the fate of the previous Station No. 1, Fuller said that decision will fall on the shoulders of both he and the city council.
“We will get it appraised and it will be sold,” Fuller said.
The new fire station is located next to City Hall on 7th Street in downtown Opelika.