The American flag was raised for the first time this week above the rebuilt Bainbridge Island Fire Department’s Station 22, thus marking it as operational and open for business — and bringing to an end a years-long, multi-facility overhaul that effectively modernized emergency response on the island.
Bainbridge now has three fully staffed and operational fire stations for the first time in recent memory, including Station 22 (7934 NE Bucklin Hill Road, adjacent to the American Legion); the department’s headquarters, newly rebuilt Station 21 (8895 Madison Ave. NE); and the revamped Station 23 (12985 Phelps Road).
Island voters approved funding for the new, improved stations with their landslide “yes” vote for a $16 million bond in the 2015 special election.
The department has long enjoyed the emphatic support of local residents, officials said.
“As fire chief I can’t thank the community enough for their support,” said BIFD Chief Hank Teran.
“By building us a new Station 21 and Station 22, and with the changes made to Station 23, we can provide the best service possible to our community,” Teran said.
The flag raising, which took place at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12, was conducted by island icon and BIFD Assistant Chief Chuck Callaham, who has been with the department, serving in various capacities, since 1951.
A crowd of firefighters, friends, family and at least two members of the board of commissioners gathered to mark the occasion. And while many were justifiably relieved to be on the other side of the prolonged overhaul,
Fire Commissioner Scott Isenman said the moment merited a pause for being one of historic relevance as much as a celebration.
It was, he said, almost certainly the last inaugural flag raising any of the attendees would see in their careers — if not their lives, considering the new faculties have a working lifespan of at least 50 years.
The original Station 22 was built in 1959, and its replacement is almost exactly double its size and capacity in every way, including actual square footage and also the number of vehicle bays and sleeping quarters.
Station 22 further contributes to the department’s mission to be effective and fiscally responsible in another way, he added.
In addition to the three firefighters (two full time, one volunteer) assigned there, another crucial aspect of mission support is based at the Bucklin Hill Road facility.
“It’s also the area where we have our mechanics,” Teran said. “We do, to save cost and to provide for better efficiency, have our own mechanic in-house and a mechanic is also stationed at Station 22.”
A public open house event for Station 22 is slated to be held in September, though no specific date has yet been announced.