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New firehall officially opened

A hose uncoupling, Tuesday afternoon signalled the opening of Lloydminster’s new Firehall Number One on the east side of the city.

The new facility is over 16,000 square feet and was built at a cost of about $10 million with input from the Federal and Alberta governments. The city provided $5.7 million, of which $5.3 million is borrowed funds.

City officials and community members were on hand along with some of the 49 fire officers that service the region to lead tours of the new building which boasts fire equipment as well as training capacity like a four-storey tower and a pond for water and ice rescue simulations.

Fire Chief Leigh Sawicki spoke of the importance of the location and the ability for crews to get across the city. He noted the new fire hall is an opportunity for growth and expansion as a community.

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“As the city grows and develops, such as the recent annexation (to the west), so will the need for enhanced response times. With cooperation with motorists on our roadways, our new location allows us to enhance response times because it’s more accessible to our city’s two major highways. These response times are essential to emergency services and risk mitigation.”

The building which took just under a year to complete following the groundbreaking in April 2021 saw firefighters moving in on May 20 this year.

With Lloydminster being surrounded by numerous industrial operations like the ADM canola plant,  as well as the Upgrader, Sawicki addressed the level of preparedness for a major event on the scale of the 1929 fire which threatened to wipe out the fledgling town of Lloydminster.

“That’s always going to be a work in progress. We are working with those industry partners daily to ensure that we can meet the needs that they need, and that they are getting us the information in a reasonable amount of time to ensure that we can respond to those needs. The Upgrader I will just clarify, the Upgrader is not in the city of Lloydminster. That actually falls in the RM of Wilton.”

Sawicki noted the region collaborates with area fire services should “the unfortunate happen.”

Mayor Gerald Aalbers in reflecting on the August 22, 1929 fire said that several services like the post office, even though its building was gutted “managed to resume services the following day so as not to disrupt the community.” Also, “the chief of the local telephone company ensured communication was kept open to the outside world throughout the blaze.” This allowed then-mayor Huxley to receive telegrams from across the prairies conveying words of encouragement. Fifty properties were destroyed in that fire. There were no reported fatalities.

The new four-storey training structure has three deck levels with interior stairs, sprinkler

Crews lead demonstration of fire truck at the back of the new fire station. [Photo: Gerry Lampow 106.1 The Goat/Vista Radio]
props, standpipe props to simulate high-rise buildings, and technical rope rescue. The building’s exterior has a balcony for practicing aerial ladder rescue.

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The station has a modern training room with firefighter education technology and as well the capacity for growth as new technologies emerge.

The health, safety and well-being of firefighters was considered in the design of the firehall, say city officials with areas for bunker gear storage, a room for cleaning and drying equipment and gear, thereby reducing the prospect of cross contamination in the rest of the building.

The new station is located at 3752- 47 Street.

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