GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) - The Gulf Shores Fire Department has nearly concluded a decade of planning and preparation as their brand new $1.7 million complex is set to open soon.
Gulf Shores Fire Chief Hartly Brokenshaw joined the Gulf Shores Fire Department in 1978.
He said the 18,000 square foot facility has been in development since before Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The actual construction of the building was suspended due to the economy and budget concerns.
"When we first were talking about rebuilding the facility, it was way before Hurricane Ivan. Now that it's a reality, I'm just kind of speechless," said Chief Brokenshaw.
The building, which has been in construction since 2011, is nearly double the size of the original fire station which stood in the same spot and was built in the 1960s.
The state-of-the-art station has six two person bunk rooms, a new training room, a weight room, a triage unit and a large garage that can fit 12 fire engines.
Brokenshaw said he helped design the building to have more storage space as well as new offices for the chief, deputy chief, training officer and fire marshal. He said the resources they will be able to house will make emergency reaction times even quicker.
"We'll have more technical resources that we've got in the building. If something happens from a hazardous material standpoint, resources will be right here. If there is an emergency situation, resources will be at this building. It will be close to us," Chief Brokenshaw said.
Brokenshaw said one of the most important aspects of the new facility is the triage unit, which makes it easier for them to help anyone that walks through their doors in need of medical assistance.
Firefighters have been using a small building on Highway 59 while the new station was under construction.
"We get lost in this one. That one we were looking at each other day in and day out. This building is so spacious. The past few days moving stuff in has been a dream," said Brokenshaw.
Brokenshaw expects it to be fully up and running by the time the Hangout Festival on Gulf Shores public beach kicks off May 17.
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