Opening of new Piggott Fire Station is celebrated
The open house at the Piggott Fire Station was a tremendous success Saturday.
Residents of all ages and officials from throughout the area attended to get a glimpse of the new facility, which is located at the corner of Highway 62 West and North Fourth.
Also on display was the Piggott Fire Department's truck fleet, including the aerial pumper with an extendable 85-foot ladder. The truck was secured for the department earlier this year through efforts by local legislators and the Arkansas Forestry Commission.
Opening prayer was given by Brian Nagy, Piggott fireman and pastor of New Fellowship Church.
The Piggott Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the open house, held a ribbon cutting to officially dedicate the facility. President Patty McHaffey delivered the welcoming address.
Fire Chief John Harlan extended his appreciation to everyone attending, including appreciation to the city's voters for approving the one-cent sales tax that funded construction.
"We had a lot of good citizens in favor of building it (station)," he said.
Mayor Bud Holcomb thanked the chamber for sponsoring the open house and the firemen for their hard work on the project.
"Mainly, we want to thank the people of Piggott for voting in the tax," he said.
Holcomb said collection of the temporary citywide one-cent sales and use tax will cease at the end of September. Tax revenues were used to finance construction and purchase equipment.
State Rep. Travis Boyd said the new station is exceptional for a town the size of Piggott. He noted "there are not many other towns in Arkansas that has a fire department equal to this one."
"I want to commend the firemen who have worked diligently on this from day one," he said.
Boyd praised John Shannon and the Arkansas Forestry Commission for their efforts in helping secure the aerial truck. (The truck is provided free through the Federal Excess Personal Property Program, and the department will equip it.)
"Small communities like ours don't have those," Boyd said. "They can't afford them."
State Senator Tim Wooldridge and Bob Zielinski of the Arkansas Forestry Commission also attended the event.
Bob Edwards of the Arkansas Fire Academy told the Times the new station is "fantastic...for the size of the town, it is outstanding."
He said it has been a project that brought the fire department and community even closer together.
"It belongs to the community. They built it," Edwards said.
He stressed the needed for continual training by firemen.
"Whenever it gets to the point that you feel you don't need the training, you need to get out of the business," Edwards said. "Fire doesn't know the difference between volunteer' and professional.' It will kill either one of them. It doesn't care."
He said that even having the best equipment does not guarantee success unless firefighters are properly trained.
Edwards, himself a former fireman, said he has conducted numerous training sessions in Piggott and more are anticipated.
The chamber of commerce also presented certificates of appreciation to current, retired and deceased Piggott firemen.
In addition, the chamber held drawings each half hour for gift certificates and gave away a boy's and girl's bicycle during the open house.