Merrill Fire Department unveils new fire station - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Merrill Fire Department unveils new fire station

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MERRILL (WAOW) - It's the end of an era for the Merrill Fire Department. On Wednesday, firefighters retired their 98-year-old fire station and held a ceremony for their brand one.

"It's a tradition, end of tradition for this fire department," said Fire Chief Dave Savone.

Firefighters both past and present walked in a procession behind a horse drawn fire wagon to the new station on Pier Street. Firefighters used horses when the department began 125 years ago.

At the new station, the fire chief and the mayor of Merrill ceremoniously uncoupled two fire hoses.

The new 20,000 square-foot firehouse boasts a larger living space, more offices, a 4-bay garage and a new training center.

"If you don't have the right tools for the job, you're always struggling, so finally we're getting the right tools to help the citizens," said Captain Mike Drury.

Mayor Bill Bialecki says a roughly $4 million loan funded the new station.

"Get to upgrade service to the community and it's good to have these fellas up in the 21st century," said Bialecki.

Even with all the upgrades, tradition remains at the heart of new station. Photos and equipment from the old station decorate the walls.

"To bring all that information and all that equipment, all that old stuff, so that people never forgot where they came from," said Drury.

But firefighters made sure one piece of the old station found a home in their new one.

"The first thing I said is we need to bring the pole over here," said Savone.

So that the old fire station will live on as more than just a memory.

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