Rusty Chism would have felt a sense of pride.
At least that’s the hope of St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Protection District Chief Josh Reese with the new fire station that will be dedicated on Sunday afternoon.
Chism, a former fire chief for St. Joseph-Stanton, died in January 2015 from thymic cancer.
“I think Chief Chism would be happy with the building,” Reese said. “We used a lot of his ideas in the building, such as the exhaust system we have to take diesel fumes from the building. Cancer risks in the fire service is huge, and this is one way to help reduce that risk. I believe he would be proud of the building that will last us long into the future.”
The new building is at 222 E. Warren St., located near downtown St. Joseph and right next to the old building that was torn down in order to construct the new facility.
On Sunday, several former firefighters will be at the dedication that starts at 2 p.m.
The early impressions from the former firefighters on the new building?
Two thumbs up.
“They said they wished that they had something like this,” Reese said, “and that we did it right to make it last us a long time.”
The dedication will also serve as a fire protection open house for children.
A silent auction, sponsored by the Fire Wives Auxiliary, will also take place. Proceeds will go to fund hosting Santa at the building in December.
The new building was a dream at the start of the decade after voters did not approve a proposal to build a new station three previous times in November 2010, April 2011 and April 2013.
But in the spring of 2016, voters passed a tax increase where the funds would be used to replace old and outdated gear and equipment.
“We needed to get equipment updated first, and we have gotten that done,” Reese said.
Then, a year ago, the district announced a new building was in the works, also thanks to the tax increase voters approved three years ago.
“It’s a building the community can be proud of and a building we will put to good use,” Reese said. “It’s very rewarding that we got this done.”
The dark gray building, which has five red bay doors and the fire protection district logo above the bays, will allow the district to train inside the building, host seminars with other districts and hold community events.
“We wanted the building to look appealing to the community and like a fire station,” Reese said, “Not just like an ordinary pole barn thrown up in the middle of town.”
—Like the previous station that opened in 1973 and was not originally intended to be a fire station. Where the old station stood now serves as a parking lot for the new station.
Reese said support beams at the old station, which had already been replaced once, were starting to rot again. Several gaps underneath the walls increased heating bills, while electrical issues and a roof needing to be replaced were among several issues at the old station.
Now, though, all that is beyond the district. And they’re ready for the public to check out their new digs.
“Guys are taking pride in it,” Reese said.