Ceremony honors 9/11 victims

Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley addresses the gathered crowd at a morning Patriot Day memorial service Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, honoring those whose lives were lost in terrorist attacks on that date in 2001.

Update 12:25 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 :

Gainesville Fire Rescue spokeswoman Tamara Grimes-Sieger said Culberson Street will be barricaded between Bird and Broadway streets during the event.

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Gainesville Fire-Rescue’s new Station No. 3 is open and the department is ready to show the public.

At 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, GF-R is hosting a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, brick dedication for its retirees and an open house at its new station, 308 N. Culberson St.

“We encourage those that can safely attend to come celebrate with us,” said GF-R spokeswoman Tamara Grimes-Sieger. Attendees may park at Valley Creek Church on Culberson Street.

Mayor Jim Goldsworthy approved the event at the new station. State coronavirus guidelines require local officials’ approval for large events.

Social distancing will be required. Social distancing is keeping six feet away from someone not in your immediate household or group that traveled together to the event.

Fire officials ask attendees to sanitize their hands when social distancing isn’t possible. Those who plan on coming to Friday’s event are required to wear masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Individuals over 65 and those with compromised immune systems are asked to stay home. Large gatherings pose a significant risk to that population, according to information provided by GF-R.

The fire department is also asking those who plan on attending to stay home if you’ve had any of the symptoms linked to the coronavirus such as a cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, feeling feverish or have a temperature greater or equal to 100 degrees. Anyone who has had close contact with a person who has a lab-confirmed case of the coronavirus is asked to stay home, as well.

Friday’s ceremony begins with a reflection on events that shook the country 19 years ago, according to information from Grimes-Sieger.

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, men linked to al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden hijacked four commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, D.C. and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The deadliest of the attacks occurred when planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in NYC, where 2,753 died. Of those who died in the initial attacks and subsequent collapses of the north and south WTC towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority, according to reports.

After the 9/11 remembrance portion of the event, the department is scheduled to recognize retirees. A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony is to follow, Grimes-Sieger said. Tours of the new 8,000-square-foot facility will start around 10 a.m. and go until 11 a.m., she said.

Ground was broken on the new station in January 2019 to replace the two-story building at 115 E. Pecan St. that previously served as Fire Station No. 3. The city’s other two stations are Station No. 1 at 201 Santa Fe St. and Station No. 2 at 200 N. Clements St.

Monies for the new station were derived from an issuance and sale of nearly $7.4 million in tax and revenue certificates of obligation that council members passed a resolution on in January 2018. About $2.7 million of the city-approved debt went toward replacing the downtown station, according to archived Register reports.

In December 2018, members of the Gainesville City Council unanimously approved a nearly $2.2 million construction contract with Schmoldt Construction for the project. Earlier in 2018, Gainesville City Manager Barry Sullivan received approval from council members to ink a deal with Sanger-based Eikon Consulting Group LLC to provide engineering and architectural services for the new firehouse, the Register previously reported.

Firefighters moved into the new station in July.

“We are exceptionally proud to debut the new station No. 3 facility and are thankful to the mayor, city council and citizens for the support that has made this a reality,” Grimes-Sieger said. “We look forward to serving the citizens of Gainesville from this modern fire station for many years to come.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated with information from GF-R to clarify parking availability.

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