RATHFRILAND Community Fire Station has been officially re-opened by Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots.
The part-time (Retained) Fire Station was refurbished and extended following an accidental fire in the Appliance Bay of the Fire Station in July 2009.
The now modernised Community Fire Station represents a significant investment in the local community and is available for community use.
The new facilities will greatly enhance Firefighter training and safety for the 19 part-time (Retained) Firefighters in Rathfriland and will strengthen emergency fire and rescue cover in the area.
Chris Kerr, Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said, “We are delighted to officially mark the re-opening of the newly refurbished Community Fire Station for our Firefighters and the people of Rathfriland.
“Since the new Station became fully operational in May 2012, the refurbishment, expansion and modernisation of the Fire Station has provided our firefighters in Rathfriland with first class training facilities to ensure we have the most highly skilled Firefighters to help protect our community.
“The refurbished Station comfortably accommodates a range of specialist fire and rescue equipment including a new Fire Appliance with a specialist compressed air foam capability to enhance emergency response in the area. The Station now has excellent outdoor and indoor drill facilities, there is ample parking, better road access and modern facilities including those specifically for female Firefighters and members of the community with disabilities.
“I would like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of Rathfriland Firefighters. Despite operating from temporary accommodation in the town while work was underway at the Fire Station, they continued to deliver a prompt, high quality and professional emergency response to 85 incidents in the local area in the last year alone. They continue to provide the first class fire and rescue service that we have come to expect from the men and women of NIFRS.
“I would also like to thank the local community in Rathfriland for their support and we invite them to make use of their new Community Fire Station and we look forward to working with them to make this Community Fire Station a success.
Public Safety Minister, Edwin Poots said; “I am pleased to officially open the refurbished Rathfriland Retained Fire Station today. The rebuild of this fit for purpose station will ensure a seamless continuation of a Firefighting service which is good news for the people of Rathfriland and the surrounding area.
“Our Fire and Rescue Service is one of our most crucial public services. It is there to protect and help our community. Every year, many lives are saved and properties protected by dedicated Firefighters - who often have to deal with very challenging and dangerous situations. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
£I wish to pay tribute to the selfless dedication of the Retained Firefighters at this station who provide an essential role in our Firefighting network.”