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Centre Hall Fire Company Breaks Ground for New Station

by and on September 15, 2020 5:00 AM
Centre Hall, PA

CENTRE HALL — The Centre Hall Fire Company held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new fire station on Sept. 5. The 14,000-square-foot facility will be located along Witmer Avenue on the east end of the borough.

Fire Chief Harry Hockenberry said the station will feature eight equipment bays, a large meeting room, a fully equipped kitchen and a firemen’s lounge, all in a single-story building.

The general contractor for the structure is ECI Construction LLC.

According to Hockenberry, the new station is the result of about 11 years of planning and fundraising.

He noted that all the funds for construction came from fundraisers held by the fire company, and there were no government grants involved. He estimated completion and opening of the new facility to occur in May 2021.

According to a fire company member, the existing fire hall on North Pennsylvania Avenue (Route 144) was built in 1952, and served the needs of the company well during that time. An addition was built at the rear of the building some years later to house more equipment, but the fire company has since outgrown the structure.

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by fire company members, officials from Centre Hall Borough and Potter Township, and local citizens. Also attending was state House Majority Leader Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, who represents the 171st District that includes Centre Hall.

“This building is greatly needed. Look at the community — how it’s grown. The fire company has to grow with it,” Hockenberry said, noting that he was pleased with the eight equipment bays in the new facility.

“What is really nice is that we won’t have to move one piece (of equipment) to get another one out the door. They’ll all have their own door.”

He thanked the Centre Hall Borough and Potter Township officials, saying that the project could never have happened without their support and hard work.

A computer-drawn rendering of Centre Hall’s new fire station exterior and floor plan was shown at the groundbreaking ceremony in Centre Hall on Sept. 5.

Benninghoff spoke to the crowd, saying he had met a New York City firefighter who was amazed that most of Pennsylvania’s firefighters serve as volunteers.

“He got a greater appreciation for people in this great state who run into burning buildings, burning houses, falling down buildings for no pay, but for the glory of helping others and for the honor of trying to save their neighbors, friends and their families,” said Benninghoff. He thanked the Centre Hall firefighters for their heroic efforts.

Hockenberry then called the members of the fire company’s building committee forward to be recognized and thanked them for their efforts in making the project a reality.

Following the speakers, fire company members and Centre Hall Borough and Potter Township officials performed the ceremonial shoveling of dirt, officially breaking ground for the new building.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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