Residents of Briarwood and Eagle Point now have their own fire station.
Fire Station 9 officially opened Jan. 1 as a joint partnership between the City of Meridian Fire Department and Northeast Lauderdale Volunteer Fire Department.
While this location is temporary, it has major benefits for the community.
Meridian firefighters will be serving the newly annexed portion of the city, and will share facilities with Northeast Lauderdale until a new station is completed. The process to get Station 9 operational began with a request from the mayor.
"It all came about with Mayor Barry's request, and meeting with her mainly to get fire protection, to get a staffed station for the annexed area," said Paul Thompson, board secretary for Northeast Lauderdale Volunteer Fire Dept.
The partnership is not just between fire departments, but also between the city and county governments. Officials say these types of partnerships can help save money in a tough economy.
"I think that we can save tax dollars, taxpayer dollars, so much money, when you work together," said Mayor Cheri Barry. "This project has been going on for a very long time, and the citizens in the newly annexed area have waited a long time for a station in their area."
The partnership should also improve service to the community.
"Your initial response was Engine 7. Your initial response now will be Engine 9. So, Engine 7 is located on North Hills Street and 10th Avenue," said Meridian Fire Chief Anthony Clayton. "Engine 9 is located on Briarwood Road. So, you imagine coming from North Hills Street and coming from Briarwood Road."
Clayton said he believes the response time has been reduced between 4 and 8 minutes.