The Violet Township and Pickerington community will have an opportunity to see the full layout of the Violet Township Fire Department's newest station during an open house and dedication ceremony.

Some four years after the passage of a 3.8-mill fire levy helped ensure Violet Township could move forward with plans to build a new fire station, the $6 million facility is built and firefighters stationed there are responding to calls for help.

Fire Station 591 was put into service at 7:30 a.m. May 17. It stands in approximately the same place as the firehouse it replaced at 21 Lockville Road.

But at 15,000 square feet, the new station is three times the size of its predecessor. It is outfitted with the latest security technology, as well as modernized equipment and firefighter-training spaces.

"The crews are getting adjusted to the new quarters," Violet Township fire Chief Mike Little said.

"They have been busy moving in and installing needed items for daily service.

"The old fire station was built in 1953 (and) it had been renovated a number of times over the years to accommodate vehicles and added personnel," he said.

"It also lacked the space needed for the trucks and the personnel."

The public can tour the facility during a ribbon-cutting, dedication and open house slated from 1 to 4 p.m. June 29.

Little said residents and community stakeholders are invited to tour the station and meet firefighters. Light refreshments will be served.

"The open house is to celebrate the new station and to show it to the community," he said. "The station is supported by tax dollars and I believe it is important to share the opening with our community.

"Also, it is a celebration when a station is opened," Little said. "This does not happen very often, if at all, in some departments.

"It is our opportunity to showcase the building and all it offers our members as well as residents.

The station houses five to six firefighter/paramedics each day, and a rolling stock of one fire engine, one medic unit and the department's grass-fire truck responds to calls for service.

According to information provided by fire department officials, crews had be dispatched on 105 runs from the new station as of May 31.

"The old station served the community well for more than 60 years," Little said. "We just outgrew it and the type of construction did not allow for any further renovation or addition.

"The new station allows for future personnel additions and trucks easily fit in the bays. We will not have to custom build a truck to fit the station; we can have full-size and height vehicles."

Although it required rezoning approvals from the city of Pickerington and stands taller than many of the other buildings in Olde Pickerington Village, Little said it was important to maintain a firehouse in downtown Pickerington.

He credited the city, neighboring businesses and the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, which plans to lease Fire Station 591 office space for at least the next 15 years, for working together to make the project a reality.

Little said the partnership with the chamber led to enhancements to the station.

"For nearly two years, we had no presence south of the railroad tracks since our temporary station was at the Township Maintenance Facility (490 N. Center St.)," he said. "We are back home where we belong."