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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 18, 2024


June 25, 2002 – After three and a half years out of commission, the Dorothea Fire Station on St. Thomas's North Side reopened on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Cotton Valley station on St. Croix's East End is scheduled to go back into service this coming Sunday, according Fire Service officials.
The reopenings were made possible with the graduation of 16 new firefighters on St. Thomas and five new ones on St. Croix.
The 21 recruits completed 10 weeks of training at the V.I. Fire Services Training, according to a Government House release. Graduation ceremonies were held Friday on St. Thomas and Tuesday on St. Croix.
Fire Services Director Ian E. Williams Sr. said the hiring of the new firefighters has allowed Fire Services to reopen both fire stations.
The Dorothea station closed in November of 1998. Cotton Valley closed in late 2000. Still closed for renovations is the Fortuna Fire Station on St. Thomas's West End. Williams said plans are under way to reopen the Fortuna station.
"The Northside Civic Organization is happy that the Dorothea Fire Station is open," Ann Durante-Arnold, president of the St. Thomas group, said Wednesday. "The station was shut down for two reasons — manpower and equipment. We have the manpower; let's hope that they have equipment to match."
She added, "The opening of the fire station proves that groups like ours can make changes. The fire station was a non-issue until we pushed for it. People joining together for a cause can make it happen." And, she noted, "We still have some open issues — the Dorothea Tot Lot and the road by the Dumpsters just past Bryan's Plants. Also, widening of the road by Drake's Seat."
Williams said late last year that it would take about $300,000 to renovate the Fortuna station and blamed the disrepair at all three stations on lack of funding.
Funding to make the reopenings possible on both islands possible came from a $1.6 million supplemental appropriation that became law last August. Part of that money is to be used for the creation of a central training and administrative office on St. Thomas.

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