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TMCNet:  A new beginning

[January 31, 2013]

A new beginning

Jan 31, 2013 (Cleburne Times-Review - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Joshua firefighters have officially moved in to their new fire station and are enjoying the homey amenities at 770 N. Main St.

The station, boasting nearly four times the space of the old location at 14,600 square feet, is set up to serve the community at a moment's notice.

"It blows my mind," said volunteer firefighter Austin Nix, who has been with the department for a year.

Nix said he enjoys the interruption-free study space the new station provides. He and fellow firefighter Roy Landers are working toward their EMT certifications.

"Before we came here, it was a bad idea to try to study at the station," Landers said. "Now you're not stuck to one room with a bunch of people if you have to study." In 2009, a capital investments committee ranked the new station among a trio of top priorities and residents passed a bond, a portion of which -- $2.7 million -- funded the building.

Baker said with the station's completion, administration can begin talks of hiring paid full-time firefighter/paramedics in the next several years.

"This is a five-to-10 year plan to transition to a paid department," Baker said. "The other facility did not lend itself to overnight guests with one restroom and one shower." Aside from being larger and more accommodating to the all-male volunteer staff, the new shower and restroom area is set up to provide privacy to any females who may join the department.

All of the station's wood furniture, including desks, shelves and storage, is custom made locally and can be added on to or repaired as needed, Baker said.

"That saved us a lot of money," Director of Operations Mike Peacock said.

Firefighters helped save additional funds by completing most of the electronic and server wiring themselves.

"I'm really proud of this," Baker said. "This is the best server room of anywhere I have worked. They saved us at least $40,000-$50,000 if not more by doing this themselves." Because the building houses operations and administration separately, residents have the advantage of the community room for training, meetings and other purposes, as well as an exam room, set up for firefighters to administer flu shots or temporarily handle emergency situations.

The area will also serve as a Meals on Wheels drop-off site, Baker said.

City and on-site CareFlite employees can take advantage of the new workout room, complete with a mirrored wall, TV and exercise equipment for all needs. An elliptical and treadmill will be added soon.

"We wanted city employees to be able to work out in here as part of the city's push to physical fitness," Baker said.

Other comforts include an ice machine that churns out the same ice as Sonic Drive-In, eight large Fire Station Outfitters recliners, multiple TVs, an expansive kitchen with four pantries and a large gas stove.

The station is also equipped with numerous security system features, including many cameras. An emergency operations center sits nestled between the lobby area and expansive four-bay garage.

Residents are encouraged to stop by for a tour and open house from 4-6 p.m. Feb. 28. The department is registered for household supplies and other essentials at Walmart and Home Depot.

___ (c)2013 the Cleburne Times-Review (Cleburne, Texas) Visit the Cleburne Times-Review (Cleburne, Texas) at www.cleburnetimesreview.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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