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East Syracuse Fire Department celebrates new facility

After more than 10 years of planning for a new firehouse, the East Syracuse Fire Department finally achieved its goal. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 21 at the new home for East Syracuse firefighters -- Station 2 on Sanders Creek Parkway.

The sunny morning bright with blue skies commenced with several short congratulatory speeches given by notables such as Town Supervisor Jim DiStefano, Senator David Valesky, County Legislator Dale Sweetland and Fire Chief Joe McAllister.

Father Joseph Clemente of St. Matthews Church in East Syracuse offered two blessings for the new fire hall, while East Syracuse Mayor Dan Liedka praised a job well done.

"This building summarizes the word teamwork," Liedka said. "I really want to applaud our town officials, [and] our fire department who have been involved since day one to make this building happen. I think of all the firefighters as the Yankees of the business. The town has built us the Yankee stadium."

All fell silent when firefighters Ron Russell and Bill Lewis -- the most senior members of the fire department -- were chosen to raise a flag given by Congressman Jim Walsh. The flag came from Washington D.C. and flew at the nation's capital. Applause followed.

Members from the DeWitt Police Department -- Police Chief Eugene Conway, Sergeant Jim Hildemann and several police officers -- were also present for the day's event. The police department will store its Emergency Services Team van in one of the equipment bays at the station.

Activities for children, informational tours, and refreshments in the community room crowned the festive event.

A lone voice

One resident, Dan Courbat who lives in a home adjacent to the firehouse, spoke out in opposition to the new site.

"The town of DeWitt railroaded this project," he said. "They shoved it down our throats and lied to us the entire way."

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