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Fire station receives national honors

The city of Snoqualmie and its firefighters received praise for the design of the new fire station when the station was awarded second place in Fire Chief magazine's fourth annual national Station Style Design Awards in October 2005.

According to Janet Wilmoth, editor of Fire Chief magazine (a national trade journal), the Snoqualmie Headquarters Fire Station was her favorite design out of the 68 entries received in August. In fact, she said that she is excited to one day be able to visit Washington state in order to see it in person.

"It's unique," she said. "It's laid out very efficiently ... It's just a good-looking station."

However, Wilmoth only judges the awards in the event of a tie. As such, the five judges (two architects, three fire chiefs) who participated as judges in the station style design competition for new fire stations gave the silver medal to the Snoqualmie Fire Station for Combined Use Design (stations that are used for career and volunteer participants) on Oct. 7 of last year.

The awards recognize outstanding architecture and design within fire departments.

TCA Architecture Planning in Seattle created the fire station's design. The first-place winner was a fire rescue station in the city of West Palm Beach, Fla.

Development began on the 16,557-square-foot station in early March 2003. The team moved into the space in March 2005.

Snoqualmie Fire Chief Bob Rowe said he was so happy with the work that he requested TCA Architecture to submit the building into Fire Chief magazine's contest.

The former space that the fire department occupied on River Street in Snoqualmie was a building at least 48 years old that was, as Rowe explained, never designed for 24-hour coverage. It also did not have an exhaust system, nor did it meet Washington state and federal fire station safety codes.

Wilmoth said that the magazine liked the $4.2-million fire station's natural drainage pattern, its emphasis on incorporating recycled materials and use of local materials, its incorporation of natural terrain, the hybrid mechanical system that features hydronic radiant floor heating and cooling via a chilled slab and an engineered natural ventilation system that is both cost efficient and environmentally advanced. It is also the first of its kind in the country.

"To receive second place out of 68 entries across the United States is a great honor for the city of Snoqualmie," said former mayor Fuzzy Fletcher. "There were a lot of folks that worked hard to design the new headquarters fire station. A lot of the credit goes to Nancy Tucker of the Planning Department and to the Planning Commission, who worked very hard on the design."

The station was built with the future in mind, said Rowe, who noted that there are currently 10 career firefighters at the station and about 15 volunteers, but that they are always looking for more. The station will service the community's needs for at least the next 20 years.

"I feel very proud; it's quite an accomplishment," Rowe said. "We're happy with what we have now. It's very efficient and the citizens are well served by this station."

The plaque will be hung on the wall that greets the main entrance of the Snoqualmie Fire Station, 37600 S.E. Snoqualmie Parkway.

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