BEATRICE -The public got its first tour of the new Beatrice Fire and Rescue Station on Saturday, with hundreds attending a ceremony that featured the uncoupling of a fire hose, in place of cutting a ribbon.  The new station, along South 6th Street, will replace the cramped fire quarters in the city auditorium, used since 1965. Fire Chief Brian Daake says the project will better meet the space needs of today’s modern fire and rescue service.


"We've had six thousand square feet in the apparatus bay, so we've had trucks inches apart from each other. I've had to walk sideways to get to some of the trucks. With sixteen thousand square feet between us and the Beatrice Rural Fire Department we're going to be able to safely have vehicles in here....and not necessarily have to move five or six vehicles, to get one out of the back."


Beatrice Mayor Stan Wirth said public safety is a critical part of what a city offers and he thanked voters for their support of a half-cent local sales tax addition that made the project possible.  "I want to thank the citizens of Beatrice for passing the sales tax issue, that funds this facility. This is something that is a landmark in our community and is going to serve as a symbol for many, many years to come, as a public safety standard."


Nebraska State Senator Myron Dorn, himself a member of a volunteer fire department…said the new station makes a statement about the community and the area.   "You hope you never get to use or see any of these guys at your building or your house....you hope you never do. But, this community has stepped up and stepped forward and has made a commitment to have this type of facility, to help protect you, to help make sure you're safe...and for the betterment of the community."


Citizens attending the open house took tours of the inside the facility, showing features such as better living quarters for firefighters, offices for the fire chief and shift captains, a greatly enlarged fire bay space with drive-through capability……a decontamination area…..wellness and training space…..and a secure public entrance area.


Those attending gathered outside the station afterward for a community picture taken through use of a drone.


Hampton Commercial Construction was the general contractor on the project, and JEO Architecture did the design of the facility.
The actual move-in of fire department equipment and staff will be a phased process since the local department must continue round-the-clock fire and ambulance service while the transition to the new headquarters is completed.