Fire doesn't wait for ceremony
COFFS HARBOUR firefighters are not ones to stand on ceremony.
The official proceedings to open their fire station's $875,000 refurbishment had just wound up and it was action stations - the call was to a stairwell fire in Castle St.
Earlier, MP Andrew Fraser was drowned out by shrilling alarms and beeping pagers when smoke was seen south of the airport.
The Sawtell boys took care of that one.
The Coffs Harbour Fire Station facelift gives the 21 permanent firefighters and the 23 retained (on call) crew more room to move and respond to such situations.
A second storey provides extra accommodation, lockers and toilets along with a training room, upgraded kitchen and eating areas and a bigger fitness room and more storage.
The standout feature by far is the 6m fire pole - the city's first - so the troops can hit the ground running.
The station also has three new fire trucks which join the existing fire-fighting boat and hazardous materials van.
"I have a warm place in my heart for Coffs Harbour and the people of Coffs Harbour," Fire and Rescue NSW Acting Commissioner John Benson told yesterday's crowd.
But the real stars of the show were the Coffs Harbour Public School choristers who took time out from their holidays to entertain the gathering.
Last year the fire station responded to 829 fire and emergency incidents and undertook 400 community safety and education initiatives.