Officials hold the new fire hose as the crowd counts down for the official 'uncoupling' to mark the opening of Station 4.

Kootenai Fire Celebrates Station Opening, Promotions, and New Firefighters

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COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – A large crowd gathered in front of the brand new Kootenai County Fire and Rescue (KCFR) Station 4 on Saturday morning to celebrate the building’s completion and start of operations.

The June 8 ribbon cutting ceremony began with the color guard raising the American flag over the station for the first time; followed by the Star-Spangled Banner performed by six-year-old Christopher Sverdsten, an local American treasure whose rendition of the National Anthem went viral and earned him a chance to sing at the National Finals Rodeo last December.

Christopher Sverdsten (6) and Firefighter Justin Zabel both rock ‘the mullet’ hair style. During his official speech, Zabel told the young singer, “Bro, you look good!”

The completion of Station 4 was the culmination of years of planning and brought the firefighters and paramedics closer to their field of operations serving the residents of Dalton Gardens and the eastern part of the district. The old station across from the Kroc Center had been built in the 1970s and since then the county has experienced substantial change which left the fire district with a call volume double the percentage of the population growth.

KCFR Chief Chris Way said the ceremony was all about tradition, community, and partnerships. He acknowledged the fantastic relationship established with Ginno Construction, the principal contractor for all of the district’s current building projects, as well as those cultivated with the fair board, the county, and the City of Dalton Gardens.

Captain Seth Hohenstreet blessed the station and those who serve with a prayer and dedication.

Chief Way thanked the community for their commitment and support, stating the project was only possible due to the largest bond measure in Idaho history, which passed with over 80 percent approval, paving the way for the construction of Station 4 and several other facilities.

Part of the tradition to open a new fire station included a prayer of blessing and dedication, a ‘wet down’ of the bay, and the uncoupling of an unused fire hose. According to Chief Way, the wet down of the bay comes from the times when the floors were dirt and fire carriages were pulled by a team of horses. The uncoupling of the fire hose replaced a ‘ribbon cutting’ in the official proceedings.

On May 30, KCFR celebrated three Captain and six Engineer promotions in a pinning ceremony that initiated 14 new probationary firefighters into their ranks. The 14 recruits completed a 12-week training course and are graduates of the largest class in the fire district’s history. Captain Kramer, Captain LaPresta, and Engineer Vucinich were the instructor cadre for this class.

KCFR Station 4 is located at 367 East Kathleen Avenue in Coeur d’Alene and provides 24-hour emergency response throughout the community.