CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A fire station on the site of the furniture store where 9 firefighters died in a fire 14 years ago is finally open. The Charleston Fire Station 11 is nestled along Savannah Highway next to the Charleston 9 Memorial.
The official opening of the bay doors for the firehouse is a long time coming for the community, as they broke ground back in 2018.
Greg Chesher, the Battalion Chief for the Charleston Fire Department has been a part of the team overseeing the station’s build. He says for him, “to watch it go from a design to a building, to what we are standing in today, it’s heartfelt for me”.
Chief Chesher has been a part of the department for 23 years, he was also present on one of Charleston’s grimmest days: the Sofa Super Store Fire.
Having this station here helps us honor the 9 people that we lost next door and the guys that serve here understand that. We will never forget that and this is just a testimony to that.Greg Chesher, Battalion Chief
Those testimonies are seen throughout the station and even through the windows. Dan Curia, the Fire Chief for the Charleston Fire Department says that every morning, at 9 a.m. the bell places on top of the firehouse from Fire Station 1 will ring 9 times.
Chief Curia says not only does it signify the time of day, but it also serves as a remembrance to their 9 fallen firefighters.
Going further into the station, lining the bay where the fire trucks are housed are 9 large windows, each one representing one of the brave service members who were lost.
Aside from the dedicated décor, the station’s newest location means quicker response times to the Charleston area and it also houses the city’s only Command Training Center.
The center was a need identified after the Sofa Super Store Fire.
The department, ultimately making Station 11, something they will truly never forget.
Battalion Chief Chesher says as for how the families of the fallen felt as they toured the site, he says they were happy that their lost loved ones could still feel as though they were at their favorite place—the fire station.