New fire station opens in Bay St. Louis

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The residents of Bay St. Louis are celebrating a milestone in their Katrina recovery. Thursday the city held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of Fire Station Number 1. Not only is it environmentally friendly, it's the first, brand new station built for the fire department in the city's history.

As the ribbon was cut, the door to Fire Station Number 1 opened and a sea of people flow anxiously waited to see the inside $5 million building.

"Well, this is the first fire station ever built for the city of Bay St. Louis in the history of the fire department," Chief Fred Butts said. "So it's a really big day for us here at the fire department.

Fire Chief Butts said the new building is not only up to date with new technology like doors that open in less than ten seconds, it is also one of the safest.

"Really the outside dynamics, all the concrete walls, bullet proof glass can keep us safe no matter what happens," said Butts.

"It's the first structure that's built in the United States to completely meet all of the FEMA 361 safe house standards," said Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame.

Mayor Fillingame said this makes it one of the premier fire houses in all of Mississippi.

"It's the standards that can make it be able to be used as an Emergency Operations Center. It's a building that basically has to withstand anything. 200 mile per hour winds, 200 mile per hour projectiles, long hours without power and without water supply," said Fillingame.

Not only was the 12,000 square foot building designed to meet the highest standards of impact resistance and strength, architect Allison Anderson said the building is also green.

"We collect rain water from the roof and harvest it in an underground tank that they can use water to irrigate the plants and also fill the trucks," said Anderson.

Anderson said this should save the city hundreds of dollars every month. The new station also has a kitchen, living room, sleeping quarters and office space.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.