101-year-old former fireman thrilled with new station
KEPPEL Sands' oldest resident, Dave Daniels, was also the township's proudest on Saturday morning as the new Keppel Sands Rural Fire Service station was unveiled.
The 101-year-old, who celebrates his 102nd Birthday in November, was one of the first Rural Fire Service volunteers in the area and couldn't believe how far the local fire facilities had come.
"What a wonderful way to spend my Saturday," Mr Daniels said at the opening of the new station.
"I think back to the time when Jim Kingston from Gladstone convinced the people that we needed to get some fire works going here. So we got together and I was one of the original firefighters. Jim lived next door to me so we had plenty to talk about.
"Jim finished up going back down to Gladstone again but there was a fireman who lived at Yeppoon and he used to come over and help us when we had meetings.
"It's unbelievable, I can't believe it what you people have done. I have been here two or three times and there has been something happening for the firies.
"Thank you to the people who keep helping like they are. It's marvellous what they've done."
Member for Keppel, Brittany Lauga represented Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne at the opening, and said the new station would help the Keppel Sands Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers continue to protect their community.
"There are 26 dedicated volunteers who make up the Keppel Sands Rural Fire Brigade, 20 of whom are operationally trained," Ms Lauga said.
"They are now better-equipped to help protect their community with the new station providing Incident Co-ordination Centre capabilities, as well as storage for two appliances, volunteer amenities, catering and training facilities and emergency refuge for the community.
"In the past financial year, this brigade provided a primary response at eight incidents and two planned hazard reduction burns, as well as support to neighbouring areas when needed," Mrs Lauga said.
"Keppel Sands RFB services 23 square kilometres and has been an integral part of this community for almost 40 years.
"The brigade now has a dedicated base to continue serving and helping their community for many more years to come," said Mrs Lauga.
The $178,000 station was built by CQ Sheds and Concrete, and mostly funded by the brigade, as well as from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, a Livingstone Shire Council grant, the Council for the Australian Federation and fundraising by the Emu Park community.