Capt. Larry Francisco is one of the newly minted "employees" of James Nance Fire Station No 2.

The $8.9 million Columbus Division of Fire facility officially opened June 28, at 150 E. Fulton St. downtown.

"I'm happy," Francisco said. "There was a lot of tradition at the old place but we had growing pains."

Stations No. 2 and 3 occupied the same piece of ground at the northwest corner of Fulton and South Fourth Street.

But the fire house -- dubbed the "busiest station in the nation" in 2002 -- was running out of room.

Columbus moved station No. 3 to a new building on Greenlawn Avenue, formerly the training-academy grounds, and closed Station 2, a 14,000-square-foot location, built in 1962, in 2015.

Construction on the 22,000-square-foot station took about 18 months to complete, Battalion Chief Steve Martin said.

It has three bays, a watch room and 17 sleeping rooms. It houses a single ladder, engine, battalion and medic unit. The dive and rescue teams are stationed there as well, Martin said.

"This is so nice, so new," Francisco said of the new station.

The facility is named after John W. Nance, who was killed in the line of duty July 25, 1987.

The acting lieutenant was trapped in a fire at the Mithoff Building, 149-155 N. High St.

Several attempts to save Nance were unsuccessful. Officials at the time said the fire was intentionally set, but no one has been charged in the arson incident.

Nance was a member of the fire service from 1959-87.

Station No. 2 primarily will serve downtown, German Village and Merion Village.

Mark Dempsey, owner of Dempsey's Food & Spirits, 346 S. High St., said he contributed a pool table worth $600 to the station.

"They didn't have one," Dempsey said.

"And I'm a new resident of downtown. I feel safer now that they're open."

gseman@thisweekews.com

@ThisWeekGary