published Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

New fire hall opens in East Lake

  • photo
    Danny Santore III plays on a fire engine after a ceremony to open Station 9 in East Lake. His father, senior firefighter Daniel Santore, Jr., drove the fire truck through the tape to cut the ribbon for the building.
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    Officials applaud as a fire engine breaks through yellow tape during a ceremony to open Station 9 in East Lake.
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Senior firefighter Daniel Santore Jr. said he might miss using the fire pole at his old fire station, but he and 14 other firefighters headquartered in East Lake won't miss much else.

The Chattanooga Fire Department officially opened a new fire station on Eighth Avenue Monday afternoon to take the place of its 85-year-old predecessor on Sixth Avenue that closed in May.

The 5,943-square-foot facility is on one floor, negating the need for a fire pole. But for the sake of nostalgia and decoration, the pole from the old fire house was brought along and placed inside the front door.

"We appreciate this new hall, that's for sure," said Santore, who performed the ceremonial honor of driving a fire truck through a barrier of caution tape at the front of the fire hall.

Incomplete electrical wiring and a drainage problem brought delays to the opening of the new station and sent East Lake firefighters to the Alton Park fire house for a few weeks.

After waiting years for a replacement to the antiquated station, fire officials wanted everything to be in order before moving in.

The new station features three full-size refrigerators and freezers in the kitchen, a wall-mounted television in the living area and a weight bench to keep firefighters active during the down moments in their 24-hour shifts.

The final tab for the station came in at about $1.5 million, according to information provided by the Chattanooga Fire Department.

"What we're trying to do as part of the city of Chattanooga is build strong neighborhoods," Mayor Andy Berke said at the ceremony. "Certainly, having this place, which is an important part of the neighborhood for keeping it safe, is a great way to do that."

Contact staff writer David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

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