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Creston’s fire chief speaks on need for new fire hall

Fire Chief Jared Riel says updates are needed to protect health and safety of staff
Fire Chief Jared Riel stands next to the historic bell outside of the current fire hall. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

The firefighters at Creston Fire Rescue (CFR) are looking forward to moving into an updated facility next year now that construction is underway.

On April 27, town officials broke ground on the Creston Emergency Services Building (CESB) after many years of planning dated back to 2012. The new location will be 1505 Cook Street on a 2.14-acre parcel.

“We’re really excited,” said Fire Chief Jared Riel. “It’s been a long road, but we feel the community is supporting us in understanding our needs.”

READ MORE: Breaking ground for the new Creston Emergency Services Building

The project has been a controversial issue for the residents of Creston, as many oppose the estimated costs of $8.2 million.

In the 1980s, the current fire hall, located on 10 Avenue S, underwent major renovations to convert it from an Overwaitea grocery store into what it is today.

Riel said the CFR has outgrown the space and is in need of updated health and safety features.

“The building no longer meets our needs,” said Riel. “We’ve been able to do some upkeep, but it just wasn’t feasible to renovate. There were some major challenges that made it cost prohibitive.”

As it is now, firefighters are unable to safely spend long periods of time in the building due to diesel exhaust from the fire trucks.

Under WorkSafeBC requirements, the new CESB will have proper ventilation systems and a space for decontamination with showers, with separation from dirty and clean space.

The extra room of 14,000 sq.ft. will also allow for the offices, kitchen, training room, sleeping quarters, and living space to be under one roof.

Riel said limited space has become a challenge over the years, with on-call firefighters being housed in dorms adjacent to the fire hall, showers in another separate building, and administration sharing tight office space down the street at town hall.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) contributed $1 million to construction costs with plans of leasing 3,000 sq.ft. for their own operations.

“The idea from the start was to create an integrated facility where both services can work together,” said Riel.

“It was a real collaborative effort to understand what the paramedics need, and through lots of consultation, we are able to accommodate that in one building.”

READ MORE: Creston’s town council provides update on future emergency services building

Kelsey Yates

About the Author: Kelsey Yates

Kelsey Yates has had a lifelong passion for newspapers and storytelling. Originally from Alberta, she graduated from SAIT Polytechnic's journalism program in 2016.
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