New Ironton Fire Station includes part of past

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2004

Ironton firefighters got a new home earlier this year, one that is bigger, newer and more efficient than the old one that served the city for nearly a century.

But look closely at the wall just behind and slightly to the right of the flagpole and you will see one of the new building's ties to the past: A brick salvaged from the old fire station has been used as part of the new one.

"(Former Fire Chief) Carl Witt came to me with the idea of using one of the bricks from the old building in the new one and I was happy to approach the builder with the idea," Fire Chief Tom Runyon said.

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"I was just trying to remember the old and try and bring it in with the new," Witt explained, who led the department in the 1980s.

Workers with Portco, Inc., of Portsmouth, moved the brick forward so it would be more noticeable to visitors. It is also engraved with the dates the old fire station was in use.

Witt saved other bricks and passed them along to other retired firefighters. Runyon said a palette of bricks has been saved and he hopes one day to install them in an area around the flagpole.

Both Runyon and Witt said that while the new building was a necessity, both have fond memories of the old brick two-story they called home for so many years.

"I still miss the old building," Runyon said. " I spent so many years there. It was where I took my training and where I served my 24-hour shifts. It was home for about a third of my life."

The inclusion of the old brick in the new building is one way of keeping ties to the past while celebrating the future, Runyon said. "The fire department is a brotherhood that is carried from one generation to the next.

There is a deeply felt sense of our past and the men who served the city before us. There is a lot of tradition carried on."