Sen. Warner to join Suffolk Fire Dept. for groundbreaking ceremony

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, August 24, 2023

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The Suffolk Fire Department will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for the upcoming Fire Station 11 alongside U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Mayor Michael D. Duman on Friday, Aug. 24, at 6482 Hampton Roads Parkway. The fire station will be a 20,000-square-foot “state-of-the-art” facility that provides coverage for the growing North Suffolk section. Suffolk Fire Chief Michael J. Barakey talked about the new fire station’s importance and what Warner’s visit means to him as Fire Chief.

“First of all, it’s an honor to have the honorable Senator Mark Warner, not only in our city but at our event. It’s a great honor,” Barakey expressed. “Second of all, 18 of the new firefighters, that fire station will house 45 firefighters on three shifts. So, 15 people a day will live at that fire station serving and protecting North Suffolk.”

Alongside the firefighters, officers and paramedics, the fire station will staff an engine, ladder, and heavy rescue company alongside an Advanced Life Support ambulance, an Emergency Medical Services supervisor, and a Virginia Department of Emergency Management Regional Hazmat office. Barakey noted that of the 45 firefighters, the staffing of the 18 were funded by a $3.4 million grant provided by the Department of Homeland Security. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant was provided to the City of Suffolk in late 2021 to fund these positions for three years. Barakey expressed the importance of this contribution.

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“Sen. Warner and his colleagues in the Senate as well as his congressional members helped to fund that money so that we got $3.4 million that our citizens right now didn’t have to fund,” Barakey said. “Which is really excellent because that money can be used to supply for other items in the city. Not just in [the fire department], but in the city.”

Finally, Barakey expressed his hope to have the Senator’s support for the station’s future opening.

“And certainly in about 17 months, 16 months, we’re going to invite him back so we can cut the ribbon on the building so that he can see what it looks like to have that building that will serve for 50 years and beyond. The fire trucks in that station. The people,” Barakey expressed. “It’s an honor to have Senator Warner there and somebody to share our moment as a city.”