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Renovations on firehouse complete after damages

By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Atmore Fire Department reopened it's building on Pensacola Ave. Monday afternoon.
Mayor Howard Shell and city Councilmen Louie Turner, Jim Staff, John Watkins, Webb Nall and John Garrard along with Fire Chief Gerry McGhee, Captain Mike Roberts and firemen Chris Lee, Andy Hammonds and Eugene Edwards all attended the grand opening.
Mayor Shell is pleased to see the building open again.
"We're glad to see it," Shell said. "We finally got it put back together. We can now provide the safety on the south side of town that the people expect."
The building has been vacant since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, when it got destroyed.
While the main station will still be located where Atmore City Hall is, the building on Pensacola Ave. will still be put to use, especially when a train is rushing through town and a fire breaks loose, Chief McGhee said.
"The station was built in case there was a train coming," he said. "Instead of waiting on a train, we will have a truck sent out from this building. We are here to help the public in that way."
This fire station will house two trucks and will have two men manning it.
The renovations on the station were extensive. The top floor was completely ripped up and replaced. It has the appearance of an apartment; only right beneath will sit two bright red fire trucks.
"We tore the whole top floor off and replaced it," McGhee said. "It is a home away from home for our men."
The facility also has a brand new generator in case of another disaster like Ivan, for those occasions that electricity goes out for long periods of time.
McGhee said that the building has been at that location for over 30 years.
"It has been here since I was here," he said.
The structure sits right beside a baseball park and will also prove helpful during ball season, McGhee said.
"It has a water fountain and bathroom for baseball season," he said. "If the players need a drink or need to use the restroom, they can come in here."
McGhee said that it took so long for the building to be reconstructed because after Hurricane Ivan there was so much damage in the community. The city wanted to hire one contractor for all city properties instead of different contractors.
With the station being reopened, it will not matter what side of the railroad tracks you live on, if a fire breaks loose, the Atmore Fire Department will be ready to serve.