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story.lead_photo.caption Clifford the Big Red Dog and area residents tour Fire Station No. 2 Wednesday during its grand opening. Photo by Mark Wilson / News Tribune.

After over two years of anticipation, hundreds of Jefferson City residents, city officials and firefighters attended Wednesday's Fire Station No. 2 grand opening.

Jefferson City Fire Chief Matt Schofield and Mayor Carrie Tergin used the jaws of life to cut an old fire hose, putting a unique spin on the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

The new 10,500-square-foot fire station, at 2935 E. McCarty St., has 2.5 bays, a training room, gear storage room, training mezzanine, kitchen and dining area, a police substation, multipurpose room and bunk rooms.

"We are excited to present this facility to the public because ultimately it's their fire station," Schofield said. "We can't wait to operate out of it. We feel like it is a vast improvement over where we were at, and it's going to last us 50 to 100 years."

The city sold the old Fire Station No. 2 at 2400 E. McCarty St., which was constructed in 1970.

Schofield said he hoped the Jefferson City Fire Department could begin operating out of the new fire station Wednesday, but the department had to push off that date due to small delays and the anticipated flooding.

Schofield said he hopes to begin fire operations at the new Fire Station No. 2 next week.

While adults toured the fire station, children went on a scavenger hunt and took photos with Fire Pup, Red E Fox and Clifford the Big Red Dog. The grand opening also gave children the chance to interact with firefighters.

Jefferson City resident Ashley Green brought her son and cousin to the grand opening. She said she knew some of the firefighters and thought it would be a fun educational opportunity.

"It's so they know what to expect when they encounter (a firefighter) so they're not scared of them, and they know they are OK and can talk to them," she said, watching the firefighters show the children the fire trucks.

The Jefferson City Council approved a $2.9 million contract with Curtis-Manes-Schulte Inc. in June 2018 for the project.

The grand opening also aligned with National Fire Sprinkler Day, which Schofield said was "perfect" considering the fire department showcases its fire sprinkler system in the new fire station.

"Not only do we believe in fire sprinkler systems for businesses and residences, it's good for us to walk the walk," Schofield said.

Schofield also announced the fire department, Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, Jefferson City Public Works Department, and Scholastic Inc. are partnering to create a walking trail behind the new fire station.