Firefighters have attended their first call-outs from the new Wigan Community Fire and Ambulance Station.
Crews started working in the new building on Robin Park Road, in Newtown, on Wednesday afternoon.
It was nice to see the appliance come in for the first time. It actually feels like a fire stationPaul Massay
It marked the end of the first phase of the development of the site, which started last year with firefighters moving into temporary accommodation there.
Since then, the former fire station has been demolished and the purpose-built hub has been erected. It has a wide range of facilities, including a bay for emergency vehicles, meeting rooms, a rest area, kitchen and dining area and, of course, a firefighter’s pole.
There is also a community area, with a separate entrance, which has rooms available for public use, an internet cafe and a gym.
The finishing touches are still being added to the site and firefighters from the four watches are moving into the new building.
The temporary accommodation will then be demolished and car parking created.
Staff from the ambulance service are expected to move into the hub in September, from their current base on Pottery Road.
In total, there will be around 150 ambulance staff and 50 fire service staff based on the site, working on shift systems. Much of the building will be shared, including mess facilities and locker rooms, and the two services will work together closely.
Station manager Wayne Van Hecke said: “For me personally, it’s an exciting opportunity to be station manager of the only purpose-built fire and ambulance station in Greater Manchester.
“I think it’s a real opportunity to improve our collaboration with North West Ambulance Service and will only benefit our attendance at incidents once we start to work much more collaboratively.”
Project manager Paul Massay said: “The guys have been in the temporary station on the back for the best part of 12 months now and I think they are pleased to move over and get out of the temporary accommodation. It was nice to see the appliance come in for the first time. It actually feels like a fire station.”
A grand opening is being planned for later in the year.