© Christopher Gooding
The Oxford Fire Department was out in full force, with members of the ladies auxiliary, to celebrate the start of construction of a new $750,000 fire hall.
OXFORD – It’s real. It’s really real.
There were some who thought the day would never come when a new fire station for Oxford’s volunteer fire department would be built. Some skeptics were even amongst the department’s own ranks, but the sentiments were laid to rest as two of the community’s longest-serving volunteers – Dean Emmerson and Allen Rushton – broke ground last Wednesday, announcing construction can now get underway.
“I know when I joined the fire department 15 years ago the discussion then was were we going to expand or build new and there were those who felt they wouldn’t, in their lifetime, ever see a new building,” fire chief Tory Rushton said. “Two years ago we fought tooth and nail and got an agreement for a new building.”
“The whole process up to this point has taken some time but raising money takes time,” Mayor Trish Stewart said.
In the agreement, the town is responsible for $600,000 towards the cost of the four-bay structure, while the volunteers were responsible for raising $150,000. For the past two years, it came down to raising funds for the building and in that time it became apparent the fire department has many friends. The Cobequid Off Highway Vehicle Club helped raise more than $18,000 towards the building costs and the Oxford Lions raised another $5,000. Raffles were held, as well as brick campaigns and penny drives, in the community. The department’s strongest ally through it all, Rushton said, has been the ladies auxiliary.
“They’ve contributed thousands and thousands of dollars and time,” Rushton said. “Tonight, we’re honoured.”
Construction is scheduled to begin immediately and the department hopes to be in the station when it hosts its annual banquet in November.