ARMSTRONG – On Sunday, firefighters hosted an open house to celebrate the new station.
A fire that sparked in a truck destroyed Armstrong Fire Protection District’s station around this time last year, on Jan. 9, 2016.
Tony Leaton, the captain, said he was shocked.
“When it originally came over the pager as a call, it said the Armstrong fire department, and so I'm thinking I didn't get the rest of the call," Leaton said.
Armstrong Fire Protection District had to re-build the station and repair or replace equipment.
Community members and fellow firefighters attended the event to see the new station and be recognized for their help and support.
The firefighters presented awards to people from the area and surrounding departments to show appreciation for their help and support during and after the fire.
Other departments assisted in fighting the fire and covered calls in the district while the station was out of service.
Some people cooked the firefighters dinner the night of the incident and others let the station store their equipment on their property.
Richard Hill attended the event and described how his family assisted the station after the fire.
“We offered our building on our farm that we had vacant at the time to house their pumper truck so they would have a close response time, 'cause we're just, our farm is right north of town," said Hill.
The new station has a place for training, so the firefighters no longer have to move trucks and equipment to have room.
There is more space to store equipment in the new building, and the firefighters no longer have to double-park or shuffle between the trucks because each one has its own spot.
Anthony Shiflett, fire chief, said the station is like a new beginning.
“The biggest thing that were looking, that were excited for about the new station is that we will be able to better serve the community, increased response times and have a better place that we can come to train and prepare," he said.
Leaton was able to find a silver lining in the fire from nearly a year ago.
"It was devastating that it happened but at the same time, something like that happens, we all pull together and it makes us stronger as a department too, make it easier to work with each other now, we realize how much teamwork it takes to run a fire station," Leaton said. "But now that we've got a new station we are stronger as a whole department."
Building the new fire station began in July and finished around the end of September. Shiflett said insurance money and savings paid for its construction.