Fort Kent Fire Hall welcomes visitors at grand opening

While there was trials and tribulations throughout the process, it was nothing but celebration on Saturday, as residents got to enjoy the grand opening of the Fort Kent Fire Hall.

Firefighters have worked out of the new hall since January, but officially cut the ribbon on the new facility this past weekend — cooking burgers and hot dogs for visitors, along with Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority giveaway swag for youngsters.

“It means a lot to us and to all of our members as well,” said Cordell Ackert, Station 7 Chief.

“The last time we had an open house is when our new truck came in. And it’s a little bit ironic, the next time we have an open house after COVID was the new fire hall. It works great for us. We’re happy to be in here. It gives us space to grow, space to work, space to train.”

It was a significant move that included an expansion for one bay to two bays, a large classroom upstairs to be able to cycle training exercises through, and in general, more space for the firefighters to work out of.

In 2021, Fort Kent firefighters responded to six structure fires, 24 vehicle collisions, three vehicle fires, 15 wildland fires, and 17 medical assists, said deputy fire chief Alicia Krawchuk. Collectively, they dedicated 1,135 hours of emergency response, training, and public education time.

Fort Kent firefighters.

Dignitaries including Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul MLA David Hanson, M.D. of Bonnyville Reeve Barry Kalinski, Bonnyville deputy mayor Brian McEvoy, and BRFA Regional Fire Chief Dan Heney, all spoke at the event.

Plans began back in 2017 to build new fire halls in Fort Kent and Ardmore. As McEvoy mentioned, it’s a long ways away from the first Fort Kent hall, which were dispatched by activating a siren on a pole after calls came to their office.

McEvoy, being a former Regional Fire Chief, and Heney both spoke of the importance of being a boundaryless fire service that sees crews from multiple stations respond to fires when needed.

Cordell Ackert accepts the Government of Alberta’s congratulations on opening Station 7 with MLA David Hanson.

Heney also touched upon how he sees this building joining the fabric of the community.

“When I look back at my time in the region, there were things that made Fort Kent iconic. Just across the road a couple of businesses that stood for a long time. I’m thinking of Stan’s Power Tongs, Elk Point Truss, those used to be the iconic buildings in Fort Kent. And I’m looking forward to in the coming years — this being the iconic building in Fort Kent,” said Heney.

Fort Kent is also looking for new volunteers who are curious about joining the ranks. They will take anyone over the age of 18 who is willing to learn.

“We’re looking at people that are interested in helping their community and want to look into to reach out and try something great,” said Ackert.

“You’re going to be picking up a whole boatload of skills. You’re going to be learning a whole bunch of new things. Our training nights are every Wednesday from about 7pm to 9pm depending. It could range from anything depending on weather or situation, from classroom talking theory, to doing live fire training at the training grounds.”

news via inbox

Get Connected! Sign up for daily news updates.