CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) - The Charleston Department of Public Safety held an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 13 to showcase to the public the new firehouse that was just built and opened.
Voters approved a sales tax to improve public safety in August of 2017.
Charleston DPS Chief Robert Hearnes said this is the first of three phases to enhance the Charleston Department of Public Safety which provides protection for residents in the city and approximately 200-square miles in Mississippi County.
"Phase two is to buy a new fire apparatus and to improve our fleet of fire trucks," Hearnes said. "The third phase is a renovation of the current police station and expanding it in size making it more modern and efficient to use."
Hearnes said the new fire station is much improved over the existing one which is a part of the DPS building attached to the Charleston City Hall building.
“We have a lot more room,” he said. “It’s easier to train in and maintain our equipment.”
The new fire station has more room to hold more fire trucks and has the height to allow taller fire trucks.
"The other fire bay we had we were limited in the size of trucks we could get," Hearnes said. "We had to turn down a truck that was too tall to fit in it. We built this fire bay with a little future growth in mind so that any of the trucks we purchase over the next 20 years should be able to fit in here."
There are garages on both sides which are higher to eliminate any height restrictions they had in the old one. Having garage doors on both sides also allows drivers to pull in and out of the facility easier.
"The problem we had with our growth was our current size of our former facility," Hearnes added. "The former facility, we couldn't grow. We had to buy a truck with a certain size to fit in the fire bay. Now we don't have that issue. We can get better trucks to better serve the community and carry more water, etcetera."
Hearnes said he can't wait to renovate the police station to better serve the community needs.
The open house served cookies and punch for those that came out to view their new fire facility.