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New fire station, new chief coming to Decatur; check out renderings of new station

Decatur Fire Station number five's main fire truck is on its last leg.
Decatur Fire Station number five's main fire truck is on its last leg.(Source: WAFF)
Updated: Sep. 25, 2020 at 9:57 AM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - The city of Decatur has it’s new fire chief.

Tracy Thornton was unanimously approved in a city council vote Monday night. The council started it’s search nearly 9 months ago, a process made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thornton has been with the Decatur Fire & Rescue department since 1999 and worked his way through the tanks. According to our news partners at the Decatur Daily, he lives in Ardmore and will have to relocate to Decatur city limits as part of accepting the position.

Tracy Thornton chosen as Decatur's new fire chief
Tracy Thornton chosen as Decatur's new fire chief

The council also voted 4-1 to build a new fire station across the street from Austin Middle School. The fire station will replace the old station #5, which is on Danville Road near the mall. Thornton told the council that building was constructed in 1962 and is simply too small for modern firefighting equipment. Councilman Chuck Ard was the lone vote against the plan, saying he supports building a new station but thinks the budgeting process for it was done backwards. “I’m 100% behind (it), but this is putting the cart before the horse,” Ard said. “If we plan to spend $3 million, none of the bids are going to come in under $3 million.”

Now the department will get a new 9,000-square-foot, two-bay station on roughly 1.5 acres for the 12 firefighters who work out of Station 5. There’s room to expand, possibly adding offices for a battalion chief or additional bays, Thornton said. Construction is expected to take 12-18 months.

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