Firefighters at the new Highland Park Fire Headquarters were enjoying a meal Tuesday inside the kitchen of their brand new fire station.
After more than seven years, they're proud to call this new facility home.
"We're back inside the neighborhood. we're back inside the community," said firefighter Marvin Vaughn. "Now we're able to watch the kids walking back and forth to school."
The new $2.7 million dollar station has everything from a modern kitchen to closer living quarters, a brand new locker room and showers, and even a gym. Most importantly: it's located in the center of the city so firefighters can respond to calls faster.
"We've had quite a few citizens actually come by so far and they have been amazed,” said Lt. Eric Hollowell. “Most people say ‘Oh My God I can't believe you guys are in here. I can't believe this is in highland park!'"
Before the new location was built, these firefighters we're housed in a warehouse at the other end of the city. Their fire house before this one was deemed unlivable. The broken down structure is barely standing today in the shadows of the newly constructed firehouse.
"I've got to be honest with you it's kind of weird,” said Hollowell. “When you come out of the front, actually running out of that building and you see wow, you know? It's weird."
The city didn't have money to build a new fire house after the old one was deemed unlivable. Thanks to money from a grant, the 14,000 square foot facility stands where it does today.
And while this station is officially up and running, there's still a little bit of work that needs to be completed. They expect to have construction finished by the end of the week.