New fire station opens on Alexander Drive

Although it’s replacing the old Washington Road Fire Department that had more than 50 years of history, few were upset at the grand opening Tuesday of the new Station 10 on Alexander Drive.

"I'm sure it's sad to leave, but this station is state-of-the-art," interim Deputy Fire Chief Ivan Bolgla said as he showed visitors around the station's three large bays, its watch room and workout area and the six cubicles where firefighters sleep.

The station currently houses just one fire engine but may eventually become home to an aerial truck, Bolgla said.

That plan likely will wait until transportation officials complete work on busy Alexander Drive, which connects Washington Road and River Watch Parkway, he said.

Retired fire lieutenant John Baxley, who was with the force for 37 years, called the new station "tremendous."

"They've come up to the modern era," Baxley said. "They've got room to grow here."

Fire Chief Chris James, who was named permanent chief on Monday by the Augusta Commission, snipped a ribbon at the station's grand opening.

The station opened during a transitional period for the department and lists James and Bolgla as "interim" chiefs on a plaque. Since the abrupt September retirements of former Fire Chief Howard Willis, his two deputy chiefs and a battalion chief, the department has been reorganizing and will soon fill several jobs currently held on an interim basis.

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