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Monday, May 14, 2007

A Fire Museum in Roanoke?

With the highly anticipated decision to close down Roanoke's Historic Fire Station 1 on Church Avenue behind us, we are left to ponder what will happen to the 100 year old structure. Rumors have been rampant for a long time about the fate of the building, beginning back in 1972 when the first attempts to close it began. There have been many rumors to have a fire and/or EMS museum in the building. The last I heard, the To the Rescue Museum (once housed in Tanglewood Mall) was acquired and will reopen in NOVA or Virginia Beach. With the threat of Roanoke's flagship firehouse being taken over by an EMS museum out of the way, I am left to wonder what will happen to it?

The Roanoke Police Department will use part of the bay for their mounted patrol. Roanoke Fire-EMS has stated that they will staff the building with light-duty (injured) or retired personnel who will give tours to visitors. I am just wondering if there will be a long line to see an empty station that contrary to popular belief has been closed down. If we are to consider it still open, then it is an open building not an open firehouse. After all, a firehouse houses firefighters.

So what will come of the building that City Council says they will not get rid of?

I for one would love to see a Fire Museum located inside at this point. However, museum's aren't developed overnight. If Council had made the decision to close it back in 2005, we could be very close to opening one up now.

Wouldn't the building be perfect for housing the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association, Roanoke's chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters (Local 1132). The RFFA along with a Museum would be a perfect match for the empty building. After all, currently the RFFA owns the largest collection of Roanoke Fire artifacts. The RFFA's collection along with private collections in the area and local museum holdings would make a decent start to a museum.

We all know that the building will not last long if it is not inhabited. What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

I think this is the time to talk to members of the city and work together to see if local 1132 can have a part in the future of fire station 1 (old)it would be a win win for us and the city. we should look at private companies that may help us refurb our old trucks at the union hall. there are groups that will help with that.this could be done,but we have to start right now!

Anonymous said...

i see this topic has as much intrest as a union meeting! maybe this is why station 1 was closed was a lack of care and effort!kep up the good work roanoke firefighters! you all make us very proud here in the valley.

Anonymous said...

Rhett, any idea what that building would cost if the union were interested in buying it? Also, I assume its on the National Historical Registry, no? I would think this means that they can't tear it down.

Its kind of strange how the cops get the old fire houses, the old six on Jamison and now one.

FireFleitz said...

Station 1 on Church Ave. and Station 6 on Jamison are both on the Historical Registry. As far as the cost, I doubt the City would ever sell it. It is sitting on very expensive land downtown. However, if they are given a decent proposal they might lease it for very cheap.

I do not know what the fate is of either station, I just hope they do not decide to put a restaurant in station 1.