Warwick, RI — The Potowomut Fire Station – the neighborhood’s only municipal building – officially started operations this morning at 8 a.m. after a grand opening Monday that drew about eighty neighbors, officials and firefighters to the 225 Potowomut Road location.
The new station boasts Engine 10 (formerly Engine 7), a small, inflatable boat, and three firefighters on duty 24/7. The building will also house a police substation, and a community room for the neighborhood.
“They did a phenomenal job,” said Elaine Sullivan, who lives nearby with her husband, a retired Providence firefighter, during a quick tour of the new building, including the new community room.
“It’s marvelous. It’s great,” said Virginia Amoros as she took in the community room for herself.
“Quite a place, huh?” remarked Gil McLaughlin as he walked the hall between the community room and the Engine bay, taking a look at firefighters’ bunk rooms in the process. “They did a great job.”
Outside, firefighters stood in formation to the left of the building as the Warwick Fire Department color guard stood to the right, framing a podium in front of the station as officials spoke.
Warwick Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong thanked the entire Warwick Fire Department, the assistant chiefs, Mayor Scott Avedisian, the City Council, the architects Saccocio & Associates and builder Alhborg Construction Corp. of Warwick.
Armstrong noted the fire station had been a long-time goal, not only of his, but also of many former Warwick Fire Chiefs.
Avedisian offered, “A big Thank-You” to
Diana Pearson, who lives behind the station, for her work heading the building committee and monitoring progress at the site.
“This is a moment that we’ve all been looking forward to with great anticipation,” Avedisian said. With no other municipal building for the neighborhood, the spot will be the defacto city hall for Potowomut neighbors, Avedisian said. He pointed out that the “Potowomut” half of the stone sign above the bays is from the former elementary school, and introduced former Potowomut Elementary Principal Ron Areglado.
Areglado noted the history of the site, once home to a one-room schoolhouse and then the home of the Potowomut Elementary School until 2008. Now, he said, the history of the school will continue to be remembered at the new station.
To help with that, Areglado presented a watercolor painting of Potowomut School to be hung in the new station, as well as the posters from several of the school’s all-school productions performed annually at Toll Gate High School, “So you may all enjoy these and be proud of what this school once represented to the Potowomut community,” Areglado said.
“I’m glad to see this station stand in it’s proud history,” said Councilman Steve Merolla, whose ward includes the neighborhood.