Construction underway for Autryville firehouse destroyed by tornado

AUTRYVILLE, NC -- Construction has started on Autryville's new firehouse, almost a year after a tornado swept through the old station.

The larger building will house five offices, a gathering room, large kitchen and dining room.

"It's really uplifting to see the structure going up and the work," said Chief Andrew Hawkins.
The larger building will house five offices, a gathering room, large kitchen and dining room. There will also be drive-through bays so trucks can get in and out easily.

Last May winds of up to 110 miles per hour tore through the small town of 200 people and ripped off the garage door of the fire station.

The roof collapsed, crushing the fire trucks underneath.

The volunteer fire department protects about 2,000 people and the community banded together to raise up to $15,000 of the estimated $850,000 needed for the rebuild.

Community members hosted events such as a clothing and jewelry sales and a street fair.

"When you take something like this away from a community, you really see how much we matter to them," Chief Hawkins said. "I think that's going to be our driving fuel going into the future."

Chief Hawkins said the new steel building should be able to protect against 120 miles per hour winds. It will also have the capability of being outfitted with new technology.
He said it cost about $1.2 million for the building, equipment and fire trucks that had to be replaced after the tornado.

Chief Hawkins said the funds came from the community, insurance, grants and the state.

The firehouse is expected to open this summer.

A slab of brick, which was the last piece left from the old building, will be signed by firefighters involved in the tornado and will be housed inside the new station.

Donations are still being accepted for the rebuild.

The temporary firehouse is located on the same site where the new station is being built at 305 N. Hotel Street, Autryville, NC 28318.
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