A DECADE-long push for a better fire station in Mortlake has climaxed.
The $1.5 million building officially opened for business on Saturday and will be used as a command centre during severe bushfires in the Western District.
At a time when some rural brigades are struggling to attract new members, Mortlake boasts 61 volunteers.
But the firefighters have been cramped into the hundred-year-old station on Dunlop Street.
Mortlake brigade secretary Bill Pressey said many were relieved to be able to use proper change rooms. Previously volunteers were forced to change into fire gear outside.
“It’s a very good facility,” Mr Pressey said.
“It can be used as an incident control centre by the CFA.”
The previous station was too small to house all the brigade’s equipment, he said.
The opening coincides with the centenary of the Mortlake Urban Fire Brigade that formed in 1913. That brigade merged with the Mortlake Rural Fire Brigade in January this year.
The state’s top fire commissioner Craig Lapsley cut the station ribbon on Saturday.
Mr Pressey said preparations were already under way with the brigade training next Thursday.
It’s hoped the new station on Boundary Road will also generate interest from potential volunteers.
“We’ve had three people join this year and we’ve had a few people asking about training,” he said.
“We’re always looking for new members and there are young people moving into the district who have different expertise.”