Fire Station

First Fire Station (1975-2014)

Scott Lake’s first fire station opened on May 10, 1975 (Source: The Chronicle, April 20, 1976). It was an all volunteer fire station with no living quarters. It was torn down in 2014 to make room for the current fire station.

Current Fire Station, 2015 to present (2015)

In 2014, construction began on the current fire station. The cost of building the station was approximately $600,000. While it is for all tense and purposes, a new building. The floor where the vehicles are parked is the same floor as before. It was done this way in order to comply with county regulations. Therefore, it is considered a remodel. The living quarters was elevated two feet, and is considered flood proof. The generator is able to power the fire station and the community center during power outages. The new fire station is the first to have fire fighters who actually live at the station. The fire station officially opened on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 1:16:28 PM (UTC -7) with the cutting of the ribbon. A public speech was given prior to the cutting of the ribbon.

Fire Station – Opening Day Speech

Russ Kaleiwahea: Hey, fantastic turnout. Thank you guys very much. This is a special day. First of all, the fishing derby couldn’t have ordered better weather, right? Who went to the fishing derby this morning?

Audience: (Applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: I was there. Alright. Great turnout there too. Who saw the five pound bass? That thing was huge.

Audience Comment: It was huge.

Russ Kaleiwahea: Yeah.

Audience Comment: Six pound bass.

Russ Kaleiwahea: Oh, was there a bigger one?

Audience Comment: There was a six pound bass. It was documented I thought.

Russ Kaleiwahea: A six pound. I thought it was five pounds, a couple ounces. I don’t know. Six pounds is a better story. I’m sure it’ll be eaten before we get out of here.

Audience: (Laughter)

Russ Kaleiwahea: I have the pleasure of getting started. First of all, welcome. My name is Russ Kaleiwahea. I am the administrative fire chief for the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Operations Chief Robert Scott is taking photos right there. In our value suite for West Thurston, it says we stand ready to prove that we do what we say. That could be no more true than opening the doors of this facility today. I don’t know how many of you are aware of the history of the development phase of this facility. But in my office, I have a drawing that is dated two thousand three. It was a conceptual drawing of the first architectural firm that worked on this project. We had a total of three architectural firms who worked on this project. Countless environmental impact studies, the fact that we have completed this facility is a demonstration I think of the organization’s commitment to you. I think it demonstrates also the character of the organization. We’re not gonna shy away from the tough paths. And trust me when I say, this was a very difficult task. We had a lot of help along the way. There are some very important people I want to introduce here today. Without whom, we never could have completed this project. If you are a resident of the R.F.A. of this fire district, I would like for you to raise your hand. Ladies and gentlemen, you are the most important people. We could never have completed this task without your support. Specifically the Scott Lake resident, you have provided overwhelming support throughout the years. When we’ve asked you for assistance, you’ve always come through. It’s interesting to watch the turnout from Scott Lake residents and how supportive they are. It is greatly appreciated. In summary, we have got knocked down ten times in our effort to build this facility. We got up ten, we remained standing, and we got it done, we completed.

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: I have the pleasure of also introducing a number of people that made some very wise decisions along the way, and provided much assistance in the development of the facility. First of all, I’d like to introduce and ask them to come forward. Daryl Hirschkorn, affectionately known as Hershey, is the current president of it. Am I correct? Could you come forward towards the ribbon? I’d also like to introduce someone who was instrumental in this process. That served you for some years, and made great decisions along the way. This gentleman is former fire commissioner Jerry Strong, please come forward.

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: We also have present, current fire commissioners serving you. That is fire commissioner John Ricks and fire commissioner Jeff Granlund, please come forward.

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: Also at the very end, we had a few struggles. I’m sure some of you heard about that. In fact, I think some of you got on the telephone and made calls. But we had a few struggles getting an occupancy permit. There were a few more things that needed to be completed. And this gentleman, what a refreshing addition to the board of Thurston County commissioners. This man’s a doer. He showed up here. And you know, he helped reasonable minds prevail. A couple days later, we had an occupancy permit. In the end, I hope he serves us for many years. This is Thurston County commissioner Bud Blake.

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: I would also like to acknowledge. Not only did you support us in many other ways, but that support continues. A lot of the items inside this fire station have been donated. I would like to get Mrs. Highmiller. I thought I saw her. Heather Highmiller…

Somebody else: Yep.

Russ Kaleiwahea: Are you there?

Somebody else: Right here.

Russ Kaleiwahea: Heather, could you please come over and stand by this gentleman?

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: We also had donations from the garden club. The Scott Lake Garden Club, I believe it’s called. I was gonna call it the Women’s Garden Club, but I don’t believe that’s correct. Alright, thank you.

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: That picture above the couch table in the hallway. I guess it’s not really a picture, it’s an ornament of sorts. That was donated by Walt and Barb. Walt and Barb, where are you?

Cathy Hirschkorn: They are not here.

Russ Kaleiwahea: Oh, they aren’t here. They told me they were gonna be here. Alright, and Pat. Where’s Pat?

Cathy Hirschkorn: Behind you

Russ Kaleiwahea: Pat provided a number of donations as well for the facility and we appreciate that greatly.

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: So with all that said, we greatly appreciate your support. I want to make sure that I do not mislead you. I wish I could say, this is the fifth staffable facility that we have covering one hundred and sixty eight square miles. The largest response zone in Thurston County. I wish I could say that we had enough personnel every day to staff every station. That’s simply not the case. However, it’s one of those challenges that we will continue to work towards. We do have resident fire fighters that are ready to move in here almost immediately. But almost at every facility from time to time, we will have what is a brownout. And that’s based on lack of staffing. And this is where I want to challenge the community even more. We sent a letter asking for people who are interested in volunteering. I have to tell you that one of the reasons we are able to provide the level of service that we are, not just great career fire fighters, EMTs, but great volunteers. Last year, our volunteers provided nearly seventeen thousand hours of service serving you, helping us protect property, and save lives. And so what we are asking the community now is to come forward and volunteer. We have some great training programs, all credential certified Washington State fire fighter academy and emergency medical services training. We train to the highest standard. You can be part of that. What we like to call it is neighbors helping neighbors. We’re looking for those people. So if you’re interested, there are applications inside. Once we pull these fire engines out, we’ll get you an application. At one time Scott Lake actually had one of the most robust volunteer corps of any area. I believe that we had a dozen personnel. If you served as a responder and are now retired, please raise your hand. Scott Lake residents, please raise your hand.

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: I know there are many others who aren’t here. They served us well. So we’re looking for now of course a number of others who are interested in helping. Before we cut the ribbon, and that’s what these fine gentlemen and ladies are going to do. I want to make sure you understand the most important element. That is, this is your fire station. The equipment inside is yours. It’s not ours. You entrust us to take good care of it. And we do our best to do that, to stand ready to serve you. But please understand that it’s you who built the facility. We will simply will do our best to try to staff it and provide services. So, I would also like to invite up commissioner Blake and commissioner Ricks. I’m sorry, commissioner Grimm I believe. Is that… Also Ricks. And commissioner Strong. I’m sure these gentlemen would like to say something.

Bud Blake: Sure. Good evening, good afternoon everybody. Thank you so much for coming out here today. It is a monumental effort. You should be included for all the work you’ve done. In achieved of absence of why every individual standing here in this reside chair of Scott Lake should be proud of themselves. Bringing this to closure is a Herculean effort. And you’ve been knocked down nine ten times. And I think you could go about another ten rounds if you want to because of the spirit in the community that this here is absolutely marvellous. And I’m happy and proud to be your commissioner. And I’d love to be there for you. Not only for this endeavour, but for many more. I’m looking forward to serving you. Thank you very much.

Russ Kaleiwahea: I want to thank everybody for the patience that you’ve shown in helping us build this station. I just have one comment and that is, I don’t know what the chief’s gonna do with all this free time you know. Thank you very much.

Audience: (applause)

Jeff Grimm: You’ve heard it before, but there were some stumbling blocks getting this thing built over the years. And your patience and perseverance has been fabulous. It’s what kept us going. The interest in this community to keep this thing moving forward and get it done. So the credit goes to you guys. Thank you so much for all your support.

Audience: (applause)

John Ricks: It’s getting hot out here. I think I’ll let you guys take a look at this fire station. I do want you to remember the fact that it was your money that put this together, and it’s your money that runs this fire department, and we just work for you. Now that I’m retired, I’m in your spot. Thank you very much.

Audience: (applause)

Jerry Strong: All on behalf of Scott Lake, I can say that we are very very pleased to finally have our fire station.

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: Okay, so now we’re going to hand out the scissors. So or we have handed the scissors out. And I’m not sure how this goes exactly. I know in Indy they say, “Gentlemen, start your engines.” or, “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.”. So how about if we go this route. Ladies and gentlemen…please… Other side, there’s two ribbons. Please cut the ribbon.

First ribbon is cut at 1:16:28 PM (UTC -7)

Audience: (applause)

Second ribbon is cut at 1:16:49 PM (UTC -7)

Audience: (applause)

Russ Kaleiwahea: Now if we move out of the way just a little bit, we’re gonna pull your fire engine and you aid unit out for display. I will have a little more room inside the apparatus bay to get out of the sun. Thank you all for coming.

Audience: (Chattering)

Russ Kaleiwahea: I want to make sure you know, we have cake that we’ll bring out. Cake and water for you. Stay and take a tour, and have a piece of cake.

Audience: (applause)

Total speech time: 00:15:50