A new, 13,953-square-foot firehouse with 13 separate bedrooms is quite the change from the cramped quarters Northwest Fire and Rescue Station 33 firefighters occupied until the beginning of March.

Firefighters are settling in to their new digs on the southeast corner of Ina and Shannon roads, and they’re enjoying the location and the extra space.

Around 8 every morning, the shifts change and a new set of staff — a captain, paramedics, engineers and firefighters — take over the helm of the station. Engineers look over the trucks, paramedics make sure their supplies are in order, and firefighters get their gear situated.

As weeks have begun to pass, the rotating shifts are getting their stuff in order, too. The walls, for the most part, are bare. There are a couple over-sized photographs of firefighters battling house fires, and a few odds and ends around the station. For the most part, the station still needs a personal touch, and everyone is still learning where everything is located.

“It’s just like moving into a brand new house,” said Capt. Adam Goldberg, a Northwest Fire spokesman. “Where do we unpack this, where do we unpack that? We trying to move into a new house at the same time of keeping our training hours up, and we are running more calls now.”

Goldberg said the firefighters are really excited and love the fact they can see the public. At their older station, located just south of North Thornydale and West Magee roads behind a Sonic Drive-In, people hardly knew they were there.

The older station, built more than 15 year ago, was small and cramped, and lacked the modern amenities and space the current station offers.

“It’s a great location, with being right out here on the street, right in the heart. Everyone can see us,” said engineer Pete Tees. “We have noticed our response times are a lot quicker now, too.”

Construction of the new facility was $3.5 million, the land cost $1.4 million and $250,000 was spent on equipment and furniture.

Throughout the station, the floor is smooth and concrete, unlike the usual carpet in older stations. The concrete flooring means fewer areas for germs and bacteria to grow, and makes cleaning easier.

“We are stepping into people’s worst day,” Goldberg said. “We then bring that back to the station, to our cars and our homes.”

The entire station is much more simple. Each firefighter has their own private room where they can do their studying and training, or just find solitude.

Each room is  tied into a log-in control panel. Instead of being disturbed for calls they don’t need to go on, they will only be alerted for calls that pertain to each individual.

There are five separated unisex bathrooms, and each bathroom has its own shower.

The weight and fitness area is on the other side of the vehicle bay along with hazardous materials gear storage, laundry facilities and a separate room for the firefighting gear. The gear room is hooked up to an alternate venting system. This helps keep toxins away from air circulating around the station.

All in a day’s work

Throughout the course of a regular 9-to-5 work day on Friday, March 13, the Northwest Fire District’s A-shift at Station 33 took a few medical calls, did some training and saved a man’s life.

That morning, as firefighters looked over their vehicles and equipment, the first call of the day came in. An elderly woman had fallen and injured her arm while gardening near her back porch.

Not long afterwards, the station’s main engine and its crew looked into a tip that someone was illegally burning garbage in their house.

After lunch, the crew was to meet up with other stations’ firefighters for a monthly training session focusing on the extraction of an injured firefighter — but, not before answering a call to help a man fallen at his home.

Late that afternoon, as commuters traveled home, the main engine and a Southwest Ambulance team responded to a call about a man laying unresponsive in the back of a bus.

The victim lacked a steady pulse and was not breathing well, so the team administered life-saving medical aid. Southwest Ambulance then took the man to a nearby hospital.

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