It took a long, long time, but the firefighters at Station No. 8, the downtown station, finally have a permanent home.
They’ve been housed for seven years in temporary digs, as one delay or another has blocked the effort to build a new facility.
Station 8 actually combines firefighters who had been at two different firehouses. Station No. 1’s historic headquarters was given to Tilman Fertitta in a sweetheart deal for his new restaurant The Aquarium, a deal that will see him paying only $12,500 a month for rent in the year 2040. (With inflation, those 2040 dollars might be the equivalent of paying 30 bucks a month for the location.) Station No. 8 was razed to make way for Toyota Center.
The new $7.5 million firehouse – called Station 8 because that company “has a more interesting history,” according to HFD spokesperson Alicia White – is done up right. It looks and feels like a firehouse should, especially compared to the tin huts that were used “temporarily” for seven years.
The firefighters began moving into the facility, on Louisiana near St. Joseph Parkway, on Monday. The official opening is not until May 22, when the department will offer an open house and ribbon cutting.
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Maybe Tilman should provide free catering. – Richard Connelly