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Hutchinson Fire Department Holds Hose Cutting for Opening of New Fire Station 1


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Thursday was a big day for the Hutchinson Fire Department, as they moved into the new Station 1 at 23rd and Main, which adjoins Gate 3 at the Kansas State Fairgrounds. The new $5.3 million station was dedicated Thursday afternoon with a hose decoupling – the fire service equivalent of a ribbon cutting. It replaces one at 20th and Main, at the southwest corner of the Fairgrounds, that was built in the 1950s and converted to a fire station.

Fire Chief Steven Beer spoke to a large gathering of people that included city officials, current and retired firemen, State Senator Mark Steffen, and Kansas State Fair officials. He said the most important thanks he had was for the community.

“What you do for us, day in and day out, the support we have in this community is unreal,” Chief Beer said, citing the support it gives to various drives such as their school supply drive and in other ways.

The new station, Hutchinson’s busiest, houses an engine truck, a ladder truck, a water tender, and two brush trucks along with the on-duty battalion chief for each of their three shifts. The ladder truck was re-located from Station 4 at 11th and Halstead, and the chief said this will dramatically improve response times, especially for larger fires and fires on the west side of Hutchinson.

A unique feature of the station is a design focused on decreasing the risk of cancer for firefighters, including separate gear storage and decontamination areas to clean contaminated gear and keep it out of the living areas of the fire station.

Cancer is perhaps the single biggest risk firemen face. “The average firefighter lives ten years less than the average population. We’re at risk of 22 different cancers than the public,” Chief Beer said.

Also provided for is accommodations for female firefighters, which Hutchinson Fire now has at all six of their stations, enabling females for the first time to be assigned to any station in Hutchinson.

Wiens Construction of Hutchinson was the general contractor for the new station, which was designed by Mann and Company. There are still a few finishing touches on the exterior of the station to be completed, which should be done within the next week or two.

The design of the new station has a few similarities to the former headquarters fire station at B and Walnut, and a part of that station is incorporated into the new one. Housed in a tower on the northwest corner of the new Station 1 is the fire pole that was part of that downtown station for more than a century. Plans are to include additional memorabilia in the future.

For those that missed Thursday’s ribbon cutting, there will be another open house for the new Station 1 Saturday morning from 9 AM until noon.