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Fire District 3 dedicates Cameron Road station

Dennis Webster, newly elected chairman of Island County Fire District 3 Board of Commissioners, shows no fear as he scoops frosting off an ax blade after cutting the cake with it during the dedication of the new Freeland fire station Jan. 11.  With him are, from left, district commissioners Bob Elliott, Mike Helland and former commissioner Gary Gabelein.  - Gayle Saran/ staff photo
Dennis Webster, newly elected chairman of Island County Fire District 3 Board of Commissioners, shows no fear as he scoops frosting off an ax blade after cutting the cake with it during the dedication of the new Freeland fire station Jan. 11. With him are, from left, district commissioners Bob Elliott, Mike Helland and former commissioner Gary Gabelein.
— image credit: Gayle Saran/ staff photo

By GAYLE SARAN

Staff reporter

Station No. 1 was dedicated Jan. 11.

The new headquarters for Island County Fire District 3 is home to 20 volunteer firefighters and the district’s chief and administrative personnel.

Volunteers and their families, commissioners past and present, a politician and several residents gathered Saturday to celebrate the completion of this newest addition to the district.

Half the district’s paid staff, Island County Fire District 3 chief Don Smith and Paula Schuler, district administrative assistant, moved their offices from the central facility in Bayview to Freeland last summer.

The new training room was filled with a standing room only crowd to hear district officials recount the evolution of the new facility.

“This is a special day for us. We’ve waited a long time to dedicate this facility to our volunteers and to the people of Freeland,” Chief Smith said.

Plans for the new station began in 1992 when the district purchased the Cameron Road land for $130,600. The district saved its money for nearly a decade to build the $1,010,600 facility.

Smith is proud of the fact the district bankrolled this project without a levy.

“No bonds were sold for building construction costs,” he said. “The building was paid for with funds saved from regular operating budgets and earmarked specifically for new and improved facilities.”

Smith told the audience the station was intentionally built with more space than is currently required in an attempt to meet future needs for years to come.

The new station is nearly 8,000 square feet in size, including the engine bays, and has all the comforts of home: sleeping quarters for six firefighters, a spacious modern kitchen and living room, large training room, bays to accommodate four fire engines and several offices.

Island County commissioner Mike Shelton was on hand to thank the district on behalf of the commissioners and the community of Freeland.

“Hats off to you for providing a key component to help make Freeland a healthy community,” Shelton said.

Rev. Jim Lindus of nearby Trinity Lutheran Church gave a blessing.

“There is no higher calling for people than service for the betterment of community,” Lindus said. He commended the firefighers for the sacrifices they have made and will make for a grateful community.

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