Home from home for fire crews
It was the start of a new era for the borough's firefighters when they finally moved into their new base.
Wigan’s old fire station on Robin Park Road was demolished last year with a new facility built in its place, which crews will share with the ambulance service.
However, while the new base was under construction, firefighters have spent the past year based in temporary accommodation on the site.
But at 2pm last Wednesday brigade chiefs finally took possession of the keys to the state-of-the-art facility.
Within less than an hour of the move, it was back to business with a 999 call.
The second pump was called at 2.45pm to help a man using a wheelchair who had found himself in difficulty at a house on Scot Lane.
Last week’s move marked the end of the first phase of the development of the site, which started 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.
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.”
A grand opening is being planned for later in the year.