Hundreds showed up for the grand opening of the town’s new Fire-EMS station Saturday, complete with a traditional engine wash and push-in.
Westlake wanted to make a statement with its fire station, the first municipal building in the affluent enclave. The iconic fire station will be right at home and features the same attention to detail that the sprawling mansions have just down the street.
The 18,000-square foot building houses six vehicles: three front line and three reserve. It’s a proud moment for the city’s staff, who have been planning for more than a decade as the fire department operated out of a “temporary” facility.
Children lined up with towels to do a ceremonial cleaning and drying of one of the engines. Then, with the truck in reverse, they got behind the front bumper and did a ceremonial push into the engine bay.
Mayor Laura Wheat called the station a “labor of love.”
“It’s like our coming out party. It’s an incredible structure,” she said. “More importantly it really does stand as a testament of the work that these people do on a day in and day out basis.”
The first thing people will notice about the building is the intricate stone facade.
“Each of these stones were hand-picked. The color is intentional,” Wheat said. “The way they go from the large to the small from the bottom to the top.”
Stephen Hilt, civic studio director for BRW Architects, said the facility demonstrates that Westlake will stick to the same standards the commercial and residential developers follow.
“This is the absolute nicest I’ve ever done. There is a standard Westlake has for their building construction and aesthetics for the town,” Hilt said. “It gives it that quasi old world feel but not really, it’s not mimicking anyone else — it’s their own style.”
The planning for the inside of the facility takes all the best features from area fire stations. Each firefighter gets their own bunk room for their shift. There’s a media room with stadium seating, a giant kitchen and an outdoor atrium with a fireplace, television and lounge seating.
Fire Chief Richard Whitten said it’s also important that all the potentially hazardous materials are kept away from the living quarters to reduce the likelihood of exposure to carcinogens.
Each fire truck has a special hose that carries away exhaust as the truck pulled out of one of the four bays.