City of South Fulton officials and South Fulton Fire Rescue will gather today at Fire Station 1 at 5165 Welcome All Road to celebrate its grand reopening. The station was closed in October 2018 for renovations and much-needed improvements.
Just a month before its closing, City Manager Odie Donald II reported that an assessment was underway of facilities transitioned over from Fulton County. An initial review uncovered that Fire Stations 1, 3 and 7 were in dire need of major repairs and capital improvement. Among the issues found were faulty roofs, mold and asbestos.
“My solution for Fire Station 1 is a wrecking ball,” said Mayor William “Bill” Edwards after learning what had initially been discovered.
South Fulton’s facility manager offered three solutions to bringing Fire Station 1 online, including a rebuild, modular rebuild and a renovation. With the cost of the rebuilds estimated between $2.6 and $5.2 million, city staff recommended the renovation.
Staff reported that with a quality renovation, the life of the building could be extended for 10 to 15 years, and as city revenues grew, the construction of a new fire house would then be advised. The current building could then be repurposed as a mini police precinct, city annex building or community building.
Initially, the renovation process was expected to take months. But additional issues, including termites, were uncovered during demolition requiring more than $70,000 in additional funding and extending the project timeline. Now complete, the building offers a safe environment for firefighters as well as community members. Enhancements made by Parker Young Construction to the 6,056-square-foot building include bunk, laundry and community rooms. The station also has new appliances, a raised garden and exterior LED lights.
“We are excited to have our station back in service,” said Fire Chief Freddie Broome. “In addition to improving response times in the community, the new addition of the community room will also improve our community engagement efforts.”
The reopening of Fire Station 1 is just one of the milestones that the department will be celebrating in the coming months. In addition to facility repairs, the department will be making updates to its aging fleet, and adding more firefighters to its ranks. The department was recently awarded another SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant in the amount of $2,242,499.70 to increase the department’s personnel budget. Applications are currently being accepted for firefighter recruits.
Reopening festivities for Fire Station 1 will kick off this morning at 10:00 a.m. The event is open to the public, and members of the community are invited to join the celebration.
“Fire Station number 1 is near and dear to the community,” said Councilwoman Helen Z. Willis. “The reopening of this station will be a joyous occasion for the Welcome All community. This is yet another milestone for the city of South Fulton Fire and Rescue Department, hats off to them for their hard work.”
Those unable to attend the reopening event can stop by any time. At a recent townhall meeting, Chief Broome told residents, “It’s your fire station.”
“We want the community to come to the fire station,” he said. “Make sure you stop by your station and get to know the firefighters. We’re here to serve you but at the same time, we need to be involved in the community, and we want the community involved with us.”
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