HUNTINGTON - A recent remodel of Huntington Fire Station No. 5 in Guyandotte is improving the morale of the men working there and calling it home, said Deputy Chief Chris Wilson.
The remodel was long overdue as the station hadn't been touched since it was built in the 1960s. The station's original design came with '60s floor tiling, older-model lockers and an outdated kitchen area.
Over the past five to six months, the station was brought into the millennial age with modern appliances, new floor tiles, new ceiling tiling and a remodeled bedroom area.
"This is going to improve the morale of the crews that work here," Wilson said. "There's been nothing but positive reports from everyone I talk to."
Thursday was a community open house for the newly remodeled station. Residents from the neighborhood got their first chance to see all the changes, while children got to see inside the fire department's new green fire engine.
Mayor Steve Williams said the station's remodel is part of a focus on updating the fire department and equipment, which hadn't received TLC in some time. In addition to the station in Guyandotte, the city is building a new fire station on 20th Street and is looking for property for a new station in Westmoreland.
"The firefighters deserve this and the neighborhood deserves this," Williams said.
Funding for the remodeled Guyandotte station came from money allocated from Community Development Block Grant funding, approximately $90,000.
Part of the redesign's focus was to make it feel more like a home for the crew that lives there. They work about 10 days a month for 24-hour shifts, said Fire Chief Jan Rader.
"Some of our best cooks on the job are stationed here in Guyandotte," Rader said of the newly remodeled kitchen. "So if you've never had a meal cooked by a firefighter, you're missing out. It's awesome."
Part of remodeling the bedroom area included dividing it into four separate bedrooms. This is in line with the department's mission to hire more women firefighters, Rader said.
"Our goal is to have more women in the future, so we wanted to industrialize the bedrooms," Rader said. "It goes to show you even if you have all men, they need their own privacy and their own bedroom, because they live here the biggest part of the time."
Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.