NORMAN — After months of anticipation, Norman firefighters responded to their first call out of the city’s newest station on Sunday afternoon, putting out a small grass fire in east Norman.
In between responding to calls, Fire Capt. Lenny Mulder and three other firefighters unpacked boxes, began setting up the day room and cooked their first meal in Station 9 on the first official day of being open.
All of the firefighters working the first shift Sunday were getting used to how large the new station was. It is now Norman’s largest fire station and features 15,149 square feet.
“You could get lost in here,” Mulder said, commenting on the size of the facility.
Although it may be large, operation costs will be similar to that of a smaller station because of it’s eco-friendly design. Like Station 8, the fire department is aiming for the facility to be LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
As of Sunday evening, the crew had already responded to three calls, including the grass fire which was their first call around noon. Station 9 is relieving runs from stations 1 and 3, and covers much of eastern Norman.
Stations 1 and 3 were averaging about three to four calls per night with about an hour and a half between each of those calls which made sleep pretty much non-existent, Mulder said. With Station 9 taking over some of those calls, he said hopefully it will give some of the other guys a little more sleep during their 24-hour shift.
Mulder and the other firefighters were working out of other stations and alternating responding to calls, but now they have a place to call their own.
“This is our home. We were just guests at the other stations,” said firefighter Robert Carrick. “I’m glad it’s finally open, that station (3) was too small for all of us.”