14 October, 2021
History made at fire station opening
Longreach has a new fire station with more modern facilities.
LONGREACH firies have been working out of the new station on Emu Street for close to a month now, but this week marked the official opening of the station.
The event was bookmarked by the recreation of two historical photographs, one of the vehicles in front of the station, and another with a large crowd.
During the presentations, two local heroes, Longreach Area Commander, Kim Llewelyn, and Pat Downey recognised for their efforts with a National Emergency Medal.
Kim Llewelyn was awarded the medal for his response to Cyclone Debbie in 2017.
“I’ve been a career firefighter for 39 years, and it’s a part of my job,” he said.
“I’m very honoured to get the medal, but it’s just a part of my job.”
Pat Downing from the Longreach SES also received the same medal for his work in Cyclone Debbie in 2017 and in the North Queensland floods of 2019.
Mr Llewelyn said the new station was a magnificent facility for the fire and rescue crews of Longreach and was well overdue.
“It’s got a great training facility with plenty of room for expansion,” he said.
“The old fire station was 67 years of age, and it was starting to need repairs.
“As you can see this facility is all brand new and fit-for-purpose.”
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan delivered the two medals said the building was “a real investment in community safety”.
“This new facility is worth more than $4 million and it’s got all the latest capabilities to support our emergency services here in Longreach,” he said.
“It’s a big upgrade from the previous station, and what better way to update it than with this impressive station.”
Mr Ryan said he believed the new station would be adequate as the weather may become more extreme in the future.
“We know that the climate is becoming more extreme,” he said.
“We know that Queensland is a state of extremes anyway, but the storms are becoming more extreme, the floods getting more extreme, and also bushfires.
“So, to have a capability like this where, not only can we support the best fire and emergency services facility that we can, but to have a collaboration space where agencies can come together, work together, and coordinate.
“That should provide some comfort to the community in knowing that their emergency services are there to help them when they need them.”
Mr Ryan said the emergency service had been well equipped to map where and when to improve stations.
“The good thing about having hubs in key places, like Longreach, is we can support the other neighbouring towns,” he said.
“So, certainly having this facility here benefits not just Longreach, but the entire region.”
Mr Llewelyn said the old station will still hold the recreation room downstairs.
“They do pop in and still have a game of pool occasionally,” he said.
“The history of the old building will not be lost; Queensland Fire and Emergency Service are looking at different ways of utilising the building for maybe an area office or some other facility.
“But that is now sitting with capital works.”