With the grand opening of Brandon's newest fire hall, the book was closed on 15 years of political history in the Wheat City yesterday.

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This article was published 8/9/2010 (4268 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

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Brandon's new No. 1 Firehall officially opened its doors on Wednesday.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN

Brandon's new No. 1 Firehall officially opened its doors on Wednesday.

With the grand opening of Brandon's newest fire hall, the book was closed on 15 years of political history in the Wheat City yesterday.

Brandon Mayor Dave Burgess, with help from fire Chief Brent Dane, the city's director of emergency communication, Linda Poole, and officials with Bird Construction and Cibinel Architects, snipped the red ribbon to officially open the $11-million facility at 120 19th St. North yesterday morning.

Construction on the 30,000-square foot, two-storey hall began last spring and followed nearly two decades of debate on where the facility that has replaced the recently closed No.1 Firehall on Princess Avenue should be located.

"We did just write a new chapter for the city, not just the fire department," Burgess said of the opening. "I'm so thrilled for the departments because they had to wait far too long. It was a much longer road that I would have liked to have seen happen ... but I think it will be the focal point or even one of the descriptors of what Brandon is.

"It's now something that's a landmark for the city."

People walk through the foyer of the new No. 1 Firehall, which officially opened on Wednesday.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN

People walk through the foyer of the new No. 1 Firehall, which officially opened on Wednesday.

Dane is the last of three fire chiefs to be involved in the multi-year fire hall debate and admits he couldn't help but get emotional when he spoke to yesterday's audience of approximately 300 invited guests about the 99-year old hall's recent closure.

"We almost didn't think it was going to happen. I've been a big part of it for 15 years. I was union president for some of the early plans that we went through ... when you finally get here, it's almost that you can't believe you're really here," he said.

Although (No. 1 Hall) was a nice, old building, it was an old building. Coming here, (staff) are just amazed. They can't believe the room we have, the space we have ... just the facility in itself."

Guests tour the new museum area of the No. 1 Firehall, which houses a vintage fire engine, during an open house following the official opening on Wednesday.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN

Guests tour the new museum area of the No. 1 Firehall, which houses a vintage fire engine, during an open house following the official opening on Wednesday.

In the new fire hall, the city's emergency dispatchers have an actual office now -- not just a 12 foot by 12 foot room where staff were crammed in like sardines, Poole joked.

"It's almost overwhelming," she said. "From a little room, where you're almost sitting in each other's laps and we had no room to store anything, to this centre that is literally like you see on TV. It's like it should be and, honestly, we feel professional now. We feel like a real communications centre and there's quite a bit of pride there."

Friday marks Brandon Fire and Paramedic Association president Terry Parlow's first shift in the facility. He says he's simply amazed at the layout of the building, which will make for a very easy work flow.

Brandon Fire and Emergency Services members look on from the back of the audience during Wednesday's official opening.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN

Brandon Fire and Emergency Services members look on from the back of the audience during Wednesday's official opening.

"The way this building is laid out, the amount of space and the amount of technology that is in it now, it's unbelievable," he said.

"So much (thought) has gone into the building -- thinking about how we spend the day training or using the apparatus floor -- so much thought has been put into it that it's a very, very useful building."

Yesterday's grand opening also threw open the doors to members of the public to peek around Brandon's newest civic facility. Bill and Thea Thompson toured the facility with their five-year old son, Jayce.

City council members and other local politicians were among the guests at the official opening of the new No. 1 Firehall on Wednesday.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN

City council members and other local politicians were among the guests at the official opening of the new No. 1 Firehall on Wednesday.

"Compared to the old one, it's quite a lot bigger for the fire department," Bill said. "The size is pretty deceiving when you drive by, you don't think it's that big. But it's quite a big building. I'm sure they're going to enjoy it."

If you weren't one of the approximately 1,500 curious members of the public who toured the facility yesterday, a second open house is being planned for next month.

In addition, the fire hall's historical museum will be open general business hours, from 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m, Monday through Friday.