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East End gets new fire station after tornado

Saturday, the new East End fire station officially opened right across the street from where an EF2 tornado ripped apart the old building a year-and-a-half ago.
Saturday, the new East End fire station officially opened right across the street from where an EF2 tornado ripped apart the old building a year-and-a-half ago.

Donations from the community combined with insurance money made it possible for the town to build a better fire station to keep East end families safe.

A parade Saturday celebrated the new beginning for East End. The fire station is two or three times bigger than the old one according to East End Fire Chief Richard Blair.

"You could put our whole station just in this area right here," said Blair.

It's a far cry from the rubble left behind by 2010's devastating tornado.

"Of course, right off the bat, it was confusion. Trying to get all the information as to what areas were hit, where the needs were, what we had. We had assistance come in from 11 different fire departments. Some as far away as Malvern," recalls Blair.

Then, the donations started pouring in. Blair tells FOX16 East End tried building a bigger fire station for ten years, but the money just wasn't there. The tornado forced the town to rebuild.

"Everybody just tightened way up, and we started seeing donations and people started planning us fundraisers and now you see what we've got and it's awesome," said Assistant Chief Joe Winfrey.

"It has a safe room in it just in case we have another tornado. It seems that Saline County has been blessed with tornadoes. We're ready for the next one," added Blair.

Blair told us the tornado seriously injured one woman in East End, but she is doing well.

The East End Volunteer Fire Department is the third busiest fire department in Saline County behind Bryant and Benton.
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