Station 11 firefighters have already responded to over 30 calls since it began operating on Monday. On its first day open, the station’s firefighters saved a person’s life.
“Its second call on the first day of service was a cardiac arrest,” Vancouver Fire Chief Brennan Blue said during Saturday’s grand opening. “And that person was saved.”
Capt. Sam Harrison, a Vancouver firefighter, is serving his first 24-hour shift this weekend at the new station. He has worked with the Vancouver Fire Department for 22 years and is overseeing two other firefighters during the shift.
“We came to work at 7 o’clock this morning; we leave 7 o’clock tomorrow morning,” Harrison said Saturday. “Basically, we live here and respond on calls.”
In addition to directly serving residents in the area, the station will free up resources in other parts of Vancouver.
“Stations 7, 4 and 5 have gotten to a point where they’re so busy that they needed extra help,” said Vancouver Deputy Fire Chief Nathan Leek. “So by locating this building here, it relieves some of the core pressure off of those three buildings.”
The station’s grand opening also featured a traditional “push in” of Vancouver’s new engine 11, in which Vancouver Fire Department and Fire District 5 officials ceremonially pushed the engine into the station’s bay.
This tradition originated in the 1800s when fire engines were horse-drawn carts. Because horses couldn’t easily back the equipment into the bay, they would be disconnected from the cart and firefighters would push the cart in.
Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle spoke during Saturday’s event, highlighting the community need for the new station.
“Our fire district is the fourth-largest one in the state of Washington,” McEnerny-Ogle said. “It covers 90 square miles and more than a quarter of a million people. This station is an investment in our community safety.”