Former and current firefighters came together for the official opening of Burton’s new community fire station as the Duke of Gloucester, Prince Richard continued his tour around Burton.
The station has been operational since February 2016 but was officially opened on Tuesday, July 25.
The new station was built on the same site as the old one on Moor Street.
This is the third new station for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service built in Burton since 1973, when the service moved from a building on New Street, now a car dealership, to the current land on Moor Street.
The new building includes state of the art training and professional development facilities.
The Duke watched on as eight firefighters demonstrated extinguishing a fake fire during an exercise behind the new fire station.
The team used two fire engines to tackle the fire and recovered a body from the wreckage.
Following the demonstration, the Duke met and thanked the servicemen and women who are part of 28 full time people employed at the station.
He was then given a tour of the facilities by Chief Fire Officer for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, Becci Bryant.
Before unveiling the plaque, the Duke said: “It is a great pleasure to come to Burton upon Trent to help celebrate the opening of the station for firefighters who help us, and put their lives at risk to keep us safe.
“As an architect, I approve of the idea of having the right building for the right job. In this modern world we do not always appreciate those who have the courage to go through the special training it takes to know how to react in an emergency.
“It must be fantastic for the community to walk past and see this building and know it is full of people who know what to do to keep them safe.
“Having been told how this building is open to the community I hope it will reassure all those who use it that the service is there for them and that it will be enjoyed by all those who work here.”
The building includes improved community rooms, to provide a safe space for charities and non-profit organisations to meet.
More than 21 groups currently use the meeting rooms, including Donna Louise Trust, Alzheimer’s Society, Action for Blind and Burton Mind.
Olly Daniels was one of a number of former firefighters invited to the unveiling.
He started working in Burton in 1971, so has experience of moving stations when the new Moor Street station was built and opened in 1973.
Mr Daniels was speaking at the official unveiling of the station and said: “It’s sometimes a bit like destroying a childhood home really, this is a way of life, not just a job.
“You obviously have affection for the old station, but when you move to the new one it’s about the men, not the building. It doesn’t take long to make new memories.”
Another retired firefighter, Nigel Burton agreed with the thoughts of his former colleague.
Mr Burton joined the service in 1981 and spent more than 30 years of his working life at the station on Moor Street.
He said: “When I first joined I heard so many stories about the old station, it makes you feel like you were there, even though you never were.
“It’s strange to see it demolished, half of my life was spent here and now it’s just been built on top of. I will always say it is one of the best jobs in the world, even when you retire.
“It’s nice to come back, we can be proud of the service and what we represented for a large part of our lives.
Mr Burton also claimed that since he tired the role of a firefighter has changed.
“But over the years, the job itself has dramatically changed,” he continued.
“We spent 90 per-cent of our time reacting to fires and 10 per-cent educating people on staying safe. Nowadays it seems that has flipped, so they spend so much more time educating people on fire safety.”