Sep. 29—TUPELO — Minutes after the city officials cut the ribbon at the new Fire Station No. 2 on Thursday, Tupelo Fire Department got an emergency tone that sent the team of firefighters in attendance scrambling.
The emergency call brought the celebratory event, which capped off more than a year's worth of construction and planning that spanned multiple city administrations, to an end with a wail of sirens. It was a dramatic but fitting close.
Moments before that, Tupelo Mayor Todd Jordan said the opening of the fire station represents one of the best days of his administration.
"The reason we are standing here today is the people behind us," said Mayor Todd Jordan, standing at a podium in front of the team of local firefighters who now operate out of the station. "This is a great day for the city of Tupelo and the Tupelo Fire Department."
The station, located on the corner of Clayton Avenue and Blair Street in the Gravlee neighborhood, replaces the previous Fire Station No. 2, which the city constructed in 1958.
"That fire station has had trouble my whole life, which is 52 (years)," Jordan said. "To move from that facility to this one, everyone ... should be proud of what we've done."
Fire Chief Kelly Elliott told the Daily Journal that firefighters have been in the station for about three weeks, adding it will "elevate" response times to "a whole new level."
He also noted this was the first station in the city embedded in a neighborhood.
"It's been great," Elliott said, noting that the upgrade from the aging station to the state-of-the-art building has provided the department's firefighters a morale boost.
"It gives you a better firefighter that's ready to roll," he said. "We appreciate it more than you can understand. It is going to be better for our folks and their rest. It is going to be better for their quality of life staying here 24/7, 365."
Jordan said Fire Station No. 2 represents the first of a planned series of rebuilds and renovations to older fire stations across the city.
"We aren't going to stop here," the mayor said. "We are going to continue to build up until we have all of our fire stations where we want them to be, whether it takes one every four years, every five years or every 10 years."
With construction and occupation complete, Jordan said the next step for the city would be to demolish the old station, located on West Main Street near Crosstown. Chief Operations Officer Don Lewis said the city plans to sell the lot upon demolition.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis, who represents Ward 4 on the Tupelo City Council, said she is proud to see the station completed. Davis said it was representative of the revitalization of the area, dubbing it a "blooming renaissance."
"It's been a long process. ... I am extremely proud of the city of Tupelo," she said. "We have just about everything a neighborhood needs now."