The state-of-the-art new fire station was officially opened in Edgeworthstown last Friday evening by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan in front of a large crowd of local people and elected representatives
Declan Kilcline, Chief Fire Officer, said the new fire station with its modern fire appliances will help secure a continued commitment by the Fire Service to the community of Edgeworthstown and its neighbouring parishes both in Longford and Westmeath.
“The large training yard at the rear of of the station is capable of catering for all the in-house training needs for Co Longford as previously we had no such facility of the size in the county,” Mr Kilcline added.
Michael Spillane, station officer in Edgeworthstown, said the opening was a significant event in the proud history of the town’s Fire Brigade. “Fire service calls and training have changed considerably since I became a member in 1986. We are now required to deal with a wide range of emergencies and this much needed station includes a training yard, drill tower, lecture room and other vital facilities.”
Minister Hogan officially opened the facility with County Mayor Cllr Frank Kilbride, who as an Edgeworthstown native, described the opening of the new station as a very proud moment for the town.
Cllr Kilbride reminded Minister Hogan there were outstanding fire service projects in Longford, such as a new station for Lanesboro that has yet to be delivered.
In response, Minister Hogan said €2.3 million in funding has been made available to the fire service in Longford since 2007, adding “but of course there are others yet to be delivered.”
“Unfortunately 40 people die in fires every year in this country. Six have already died this year. Basic fire awareness might have prevented these deaths. As is often the case, the youngest and oldest in our society are most at risk.
“Thankfully Irish people have a strong tradition of community and I suggest if you have older friends that you visit them and carry out a fire safety survey with them,” Minister Hogan said.
County Manager Tim Caffrey said the opening of the new station was a culmination of a lot of hard work from council staff and elected representatives, and of course the fire service themselves. “This fire service has served the community with loyalty since the 1940s and this new facility will help strengthen those links even further.”
Mr Caffrey thanked the fire fighters, past and present, for their commitment given the difficulty of attending incidents of great tragedy, many of which involved their friends and family.
Highlighting how proud the fire-fighters are of the new building, Mr Caffrey recalled calling into the station very late one night to find the fire-fighters scrubbing the floors of the new facility.