West Valley City Fire celebrates new station with ‘hose cutting’ and open house
Nov 13, 2018 01:35PM
By Jana Klopsch
Community members gathered at the open house for Station 72 on October 16. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
West Valley City officials were on hand Oct. 16 for an open house of the rebuilt Fire Station 72. Located at 4134 West and 4100 South, the state-of-the-art building is built on the site of an older station.
West Valley City officials proudly presented their newest station to the public with a short program, then with an official hose cutting, which is the firefighter equivalent of a ribbon cutting and more of a hose loosening. There was an open house for members of the community to walk through the new building.
City Manager Wayne Pyle conducted the meeting and remarks were made by Mayor Ron Bigelow, Councilmember Steve Buhler, building contractor John Poulsen, architect Tom Brennan and Fire Chief John Evans. The well-attended open house gave insight into just what it takes to keep residents safe.
“Station 72 is the backbone of the West Valley City Fire Department and the heaviest-used station in the city. For years, we’ve been looking for ways to update and remodel the existing building on this lot. After a lot of discussion, we just dropped all the plans to remodel and did a complete rebuild,” Pyle said.
The station is twice as tall as the old one, which means that taller fire trucks can fit in the garage. It leaves room for new additions and new technologies so that it can stay relevant.
“This station is of immediate benefit to the neighborhood and to the taxpayers of West Valley. If you want to know where your money goes, look around at this beautiful new facility,” Bigelow said.
Representatives from the contracting company that built the facility and the architecture firm that designed it also spoke. John Poulsen of Poulsen Construction and Tom Brennan of EDA Architects both said this kind of project is a labor of love. An updated fire station for those who serve the community is an important job and they “leave a piece of themselves in the building.”
In addition to the higher ceilings in the garage, two more aspects of the new station were highlighted. The first is accommodations for female firefighters. John Fox, battalion chief and firefighter since 1987 started at this station. “When this was first built, there were no separate facilities for women at all. It was a man’s station,” Fox said. The new station remedies that with women’s restrooms, changing facilities and separate sleeping quarters.
A media release from West Valley stated, “The previous Fire Station 72… lacked many of the necessary accommodations [for women]. We are happy to say that more and more women are choosing firefighting as a career and we look forward to being able to provide suitable accommodations for both the men and women who serve in our community.”
The second big change for the new station is that the new turnout gear laundry rooms are located inside the garage. Previous laundry rooms were located inside the building itself. But this posed a health hazard due to the toxins and chemicals that permeate turnout gear when firefighters encounter fire, smoke or other circumstances.
“There are toxins and poisonous chemicals in the environments in which the firefighters are responding to emergencies. When they return they bring that back to the [fire] house. We want to make sure that this facility is safe by keeping those toxins away from the living areas. Here they are able to clean up separately before they enter the living quarters,” Brennan said.
The station is an “essential facility,” which means that it is fully prepared for whatever emergencies may arise. It has full backup generator power. It can withstand blizzards and power outages. It will be prepared to help the community in nearly every circumstance.
Station 72 is one of six stations in West Valley City. It covers the biggest and busiest area, which runs east/west from 5400 West to Constitution Boulevard, and north/south from 4700 South to a taper at 3100 South. Though other stations respond to other emergencies, station 72 will respond to all fires. The new station started operations on October 17.
The speakers stressed that the new building provides the best facilities for the community and the best facilities to help the firefighters come back and recharge.
“This building is dedicated to the firefighters who serve in our community,” said Pyle. “Thank you.”