“It makes me feel safe.”

With those words, 7-year-old Sadie Holm echoed what most area residents were thinking Jan. 8 as they walked through Mountain Vista Fire District’s Station 1.

Sadie, her brother Eli, and their parents were among the 100 or so people who attended the station’s official dedication ceremony that morning and examined the 11,500-square-foot facility, Mountain Vista’s first fire station.

“I’ve passed by here for 15 years,” said Oro Valley resident Roman Orosco. “I’ve never had to call the fire department in all that time but it’s good to know it’s close now. This is our tax money put to good use.”

Built on district-owned land at 9310 N. Shannon Road, the new facility decreases response times to its coverage area, and provides more staffing and more supportive working conditions. It was designed by WSM Architects and built by Lloyd Construction.

The 11,500-square-foot building can house 11 firefighters, with 2-1/2 bays for apparatus and equipment, ecologically friendly features and room for expansion if needed. Mountain Vista has a contract with Rural/Metro to provide firefighters, emergency medical technicians and equipment.

“It’s nice, very nice. It’s a big improvement from (the) Thornydale (station), which was pretty rinky-dink,” said Bill Snyder. “It has a lot more room and its access to the area is better.”

In the 1990s, Snyder served as a board member for the Heritage Hills Fire District, one of three small fire districts — North Ranch/Linda Vista and La Cañada were the others – that merged in late 2008 to create Mountain Vista.

Some emergency personnel were absent from the ceremony. Shortly before the event began, they were called to a multi-agency police incident that turned out to be the mass shooting during which U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured and six people died.

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