A Fire Museum in Roanoke?

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With the highly anticipated decision to close down Roanoke’s Historic Fire Station 1 on Church Avenue behind us, we are left to ponder what will happen to the 100 year old structure. Rumors have been rampant for a long time about the fate of the building, beginning back in 1972 when the first attempts to close it began. There have been many rumors to have a fire and/or EMS museum in the building. The last I heard, the To the Rescue Museum (once housed in Tanglewood Mall) was acquired and will reopen in NOVA or Virginia Beach. With the threat of Roanoke’s flagship firehouse being taken over by an EMS museum out of the way, I am left to wonder what will happen to it?

The Roanoke Police Department will use part of the bay for their mounted patrol. Roanoke Fire-EMS has stated that they will staff the building with light-duty (injured) or retired personnel who will give tours to visitors. I am just wondering if there will be a long line to see an empty station that contrary to popular belief has been closed down. If we are to consider it still open, then it is an open building not an open firehouse. After all, a firehouse houses firefighters.

So what will come of the building that City Council says they will not get rid of?

I for one would love to see a Fire Museum located inside at this point. However, museum’s aren’t developed overnight. If Council had made the decision to close it back in 2005, we could be very close to opening one up now.

Wouldn’t the building be perfect for housing the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association, Roanoke’s chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters (Local 1132). The RFFA along with a Museum would be a perfect match for the empty building. After all, currently the RFFA owns the largest collection of Roanoke Fire artifacts. The RFFA’s collection along with private collections in the area and local museum holdings would make a decent start to a museum.

We all know that the building will not last long if it is not inhabited. What are your thoughts?

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