Sunday, May 22, 2022

Oxford Gets First of 2 New Fire Stations

Signage was recently added to the new Oxford Fire Station No. 1 on McElroy Drive, set to open in February. / Photos by Angela Rogalski
Signage was recently added to the new Oxford Fire Station No. 1 on McElroy Drive, set to open in February. / Photos by Angela Rogalski

The New Year always holds the promise of better things to come, and the city of Oxford will realize at least one of those expectations in the coming year. By February, a new Oxford fire station that is now in the final stages of construction should be ready for a ribbon-cutting.
Oxford Fire Chief Cary Sallis
Oxford Fire Chief Cary Sallis

Oxford Fire Chief Cary Sallis is excited and ready for Fire Station No. 1 on McElroy Drive to open. But with the familiar name comes the question: what happens to the Fire Station No. 1 that already exists?
“The current No. 1 will be used for storage temporarily after the new station opens,” Sallis said. “The initial plan, however, is to tear it down and put that area back to green space.”
Sallis said the way that Oxford is growing, especially pushing toward FNC Park and College Hill Road, it was necessary to reposition the fire station.
“Station 1 on North Lamar will close,” he said. “Station 2 on Washington Avenue, right across from Sorority Row, will also close and that truck will go out to Station 4, which is on Mall Drive. And we’ll still have Station 3 on Highway 7 S.
“We have four fire stations currently, but we’re going back to three for probably about a year or so. Our long-term goal is to be started on another new station to replace No. 2 by the end of next year, and it will be relocated somewhere near Sisk Avenue due to the growth of that area.”
Sallis said they had hoped to be in the new station before the Christmas holiday, but a few construction woes pushed the opening date back to sometime shortly after the New Year, most likely February.
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The new Emergency Operations Center will handle any kind of natural disaster or emergency situation as well as provide classroom space for training.

The approximate cost of the new fire station, along with another new building which will house an Emergency Operations Center, is $2.7 million.
“The total project for both buildings, the fire station and the EOC, came in right at $2.7 million,” Sallis said. “The city is paying for the new fire station, and we actually got a FEMA grant for the EOC. There were only two awarded, and we received one of them.
“So if there is any kind of natural disaster, such as a tornado, earthquake, anything like that, we’ll utilize that building for an operations vantage point. And we also have weekly ongoing training classes at the fire station, so we’ll use the EOC location for that as well.”
The Emergency Operations Center is a brand new addition for Oxford and will offer a strategic planning point for all city officials in the case of an extreme emergency.
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The kitchen and day room will be spacious and have many of the comforts of home since firefighters spend 24 hours or more in the station at a time.

The new fire station will have 13 bedrooms, four bathrooms upstairs and four downstairs, a complete kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, a day room, a weight room, several administration offices and a large conference area. Four different trucks will be housed at the station.
“There will be an engine, a ladder, the airport crash rescue and the battalion chief’s truck,” Sallis said. “So that’s four pieces of apparatus now. It’s a large station — very well-equipped and definitely built to last for a long time.”
Sallis added that the existing Station No. 1 was built around 1970.
“That’s how long we’ve been in that location,” he said.
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Future equipment storage room for suits, helmets, boots and other needs.

Daily manning of the new station will consist of seven or eight fireman each day, working 24 hour shifts. Oxford has a total of 57 shift personnel, divided into three shifts of 19 for each fire station.
With the new station and all of its spacious comforts, Sallis said it was like being at home.
“This is like living at home,” he said. “And that’s good, because when you look at the hours we put in, we’re actually here more than at home.”
Angela Rogalski is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at angela.rogalski@hottytoddy.com.

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