Sound of siren welcomed by fire service volunteers
For firefighter Daniel Garton the fire siren reverberating around the Hikurangi community will be a welcome noise.
For the last 12 months the team of volunteers have been alerted to emergency call outs either by phone or pager while the new Hikurangi Fire Station was under construction.
Now the volunteer team are back in the country’s newest state-of-the-art fire station and ready to roll.
“I get a gut feeling when it’s going to go off. It will be great to hear that noise again,” Mr Garton said of the siren.
The $1 million station was officially declared open at 11.34am on Saturday by New Zealand Fire Service chief executive and national commander, Paul Baxter.
Mr Baxter said the brigade was providing a world-class service and responded to an ever increasing range of emergencies.
In the early years it was primarily fires the brigade turned out for but increasingly they were being called to car crashes, chemical spills, and wild weather events.
He said the volunteers were the heart of the fire service.
“Without the people we wouldn’t have the organisation we have. This new station is an asset to the brigade and the community.”
The last Hikurangi station was built on the same site in 1954 and the latest building was the third on the same site.
The brigade was 101 years old according to official records but Chief Fire Officer Snow Buckton said it could be even older.
Mr Buckton said if all the years volunteers had given to the brigade were added together, it totalled 1789 years. He said during that time there wasn’t much the brigade had not attended. It included rescuing a parrot from a tree, a cat from behind a cupboard and scrub fires.
“There have been sad times and good times.”
Former member Paula Crawshaw travelled from Temuka in the South Island to attend the opening. When she was a volunteer she was almost always the first at the station, conveniently living right next door.
“Just knowing you are doing something for the community and being able to help people you know in the community is a huge reward,” she said.
Each member of the current brigade was presented with a special key ring.
‘Just knowing you are doing something for the community is a
MILESTONE: Chief fire officer Snow Buckton is all smiles as New Zealand Fire Service executive and national commander, Paul Baxter, unveils the official plaque marking the opening of the new Hikurangi fire station.