(Omaha, NE) -- The Omaha Fire Department officially opens the new Fire Station 31 Thursday morning.
The cost to build the new Station 31, located at 34th and Q, was approximately $5 Million and this money came from the Capital Improvement Program and Public Safety Bonds. Station 31 is the first new station the City of Omaha has built in over 20 years. It's a one-story building that sits on a site of 2.5 acres and houses Engine 31, Truck 31, and Medic 31. The station has 11 individual bedrooms along with an exercise room, kitchen, dayroom and four drive-through apparatus bays. Fire Chief Dan Olsen says the building is expected to serve the residents of South Omaha for the next 75 to 100 years.
The old Station 31 has been located at 25th and L streets since February 5, 1949, when the City of Omaha built this station for $50,000. It has been called Station 5, Station 14, and most recently, Station 31. There has been a fire station at this corner since the turn of the 20th century, originally being home to the City of South Omaha Fire Department until the City of Omaha built a new station on the same lot in 1949. During Thursday's Grand Opening, Chief Olsen said, "I have to say that today is truly one of the highlights of my career as Fire Chief. Having grown up in South Omaha, I consider myself blessed to have been part of this project and I want to thank you all again."
Chief Olsen says knowing the love South Omaha residents have for the old station, the new station 31 has some design features and fixtures of the old Station 31. "Exterior features, such as pronounced columns and copper boarders adorn the exterior of the new station and very closely resemble the old. An actual exterior badge that was once affixed to the upper parapet of the old 31s is now on display in the honor garden of this station. Antique, gas-lighted fixtures there were once mounted on the north exterior wall of the old station, have been retrofitted and mounted on the wall of the new station's apparatus floor," Olsen said.
The station has also been named in honor of Dr. Joe Stothert, Mayor Jean Stothert's late husband, who served as the Omaha Fire Department's Medical Director for nearly 20 years. "A plaque in Dr. Stothert's honor and his EMS turn-out coat will be displayed in the entry of new station 31," Olsen said.