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Ground broken on new fire station in north Forsyth

NORTH FORSYTH — For the second Friday in a row, Forsyth County officials gathered to break ground on a new fire station.

Station 8 on Keith Bridge Road will sit next to its predecessor, which must first be demolished before construction can start. Fire Chief Danny Bowman said the volunteer-era station was never intended to be used for so long.

“In 1984, the modest, little fire station that you see here was completed, meant only to house a firetruck out of the weather and have an occasional meeting,” he said.

“Fast forward to today, where there are nine full-time firefighters, three per shift, operating from this location, having responded to 633 emergencies last year from this facility, which was never meant to be occupied 24 hours a day.”

The firefighters who are normally stationed there will begin operating from a nearby Dawson County station this week. That arrangement is expected to continue until construction is completed next year.

“We extend pure appreciation to our dear friends in Dawson County, for allowing us to share their fire station while ours is under construction,” Bowman said. “We will never forget your friendship or your kindness.”

County Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, whose District 4 includes the station, told those in attendance they are indebted to both current and previous firefighters.

“The volunteer firemen took a lot of pride in how they worked for each other,” she said. “Just this morning, I had breakfast with the firefighters at Fire Station 1, and we talked about the pride that the firemen have and the efforts. They are our local heroes.”

Last week, Forsyth held a similar ceremony for Station 6 near the corner of Caney and Brookwood roads in south Forsyth.

Construction for both facilities is being funded through the 1-cent sales tax program and impact fees, or charges on new development.

Work for both stations will be handled by D.A. Edwards and Co. for a total of about $5.6 million. They likely will each take 12 to 14 months to build.

The property for Fire Station 8 was purchased from Leonard Ridings, who also spoke at the event Friday and whose granddaughter led the national anthem.

“We have excellent fire protection and service in this county, and we’re glad that we could be a part of it,” Ridings said. “We hope and pray that the firefighters remain safe in what they do.”