New MT Fire Station Replaces 115-Year-Old Firehouse

Nov. 26, 2023
After years of planning, Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department opened their new station, which replaced a firehouse built in 1907.

Nov. 21—The Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department held a ribbon-cutting and open house on Friday to celebrate its new fire hall at the corner of Foxfield Street and Skeels Avenue.

City council members, firefighters, law enforcement officers and community members watched a brief ceremony just before dark.

Hamilton Fire Chief Brad Mohn stepped up to thank the mayor, city council and city staff and emphasized the health benefits the new station provides for the volunteer firefighters.

"It has really been an undertaking of several years and without the mayor and city council none of this would have happened," Mohn said. "We mentioned the firefighters and Assistant Fire Chief Tyson Woods was instrumental as well. The building was designed with firefighter safety at the forefront. The number one cause of death of firefighters is cancer and this building is designed to keep the bad stuff away from the office side and future living quarters. It really is a state-of-the-art fire station."

Hamilton Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf pointed out that the old station was 115 years old and that this one should last 50 years.

"We'll miss the old fire hall (built in 1907) and everyone wants to know what is going to happen with that," Farrenkopf said. "We have a committee working on it and we'll put it before the city council."

The new fire hall has around 12,500 square feet with rooms for communication, equipment, common spaces and living quarters, including a kitchen, all designed with firefighter safety in mind. It has four bays to house fire trucks, a fire hose tower and decontamination space, as well as offices, training rooms, counseling space and a fitness center.

The fire trucks can rush to calls out the north side of the building and return by entering from the south without the need to back into the bays.

Mohn explained that the fire truck bay has a "tox sensor."

"When it senses enough CO particles it will kick this whole unit on which is massive and there are fans on the other side and it replaces all the air in here in 15-seconds," Mohn said. "It gets all the crud out in a hurry."

He said the department is in the process of moving equipment from the State Street station and is still raising funds.

"It feels good, it is great to be here and the guys are happy," Mohn said. "This should serve the community for 50-plus years."

The new location also includes parking spaces so employees can park on site instead of city sidewalks. The new station also allows fire trucks to head to calls in any direction more easily.

"You don't get the fire siren anymore," Farrenkopf said, to which some in the crowd sighed with disappointment for the disappearance of the small-town sound.

"You'll love that or you'll hate that," Farrenkopf said. "We need to thank the community for financial contributions and giving us the 'hurrahas' and the 'we believe in yous' that made this possible."

The old fire pole that firefighters slid down for decades has been moved over to the new station and is located in the meeting and training room.

"A bit of history, the personnel and equipment come over from the old station and continue to provide the same quality of service our citizens' count on," Farrenkopf said.

The last fire siren was heard downtown on Thursday as the chief turned it on "one last time" before turning the power off, he said. The fire siren will remain at the old Fire Hall on State Street out of courtesy for the new neighborhood.

"We all have pagers and our phones go off," Mohn said. "Technology in this day and age is crazy."

Volunteer firefighter Regan Farley slowly cut the ribbon using the Jaws of Life, a hydraulic rescue tool used to assist in the extraction of victims involved in vehicle accidents, and Farrenkopf provided a quick snip with a pair of scissors at the end.

The community cheered, ate refreshments and took a quick tour.

Chief Mohn said there will be a community open house and barbecue in April.

"Please come back for that as well," Mohn said.

Farrenkopf said the department is still looking for donations to outfit the new station.

"There is still a gap and if people want to contribute they can send checks to 223 S. 2nd St., Hamilton, MT 59840. They can put 'Fire Station' in the memo of their check. It is tax deductible and there are different sponsor levels."


(c)2023 Ravalli Republic, Hamilton, Mont.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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