About 150 guests and dignitaries braved a chilly, overcast morning Tuesday to help dedicate the Brownwood Fire Department’s new 14,400-square-foot, $3 million Central Fire Station.

The dedication included a flag-raising by the Heart of Texas Honor Guard, which consists of firefighters from Brownwood and Stephenville. Bagpipers and drummers from Dallas-area fire departments accompanied the honor guard. After a ceremonial hose uncoupling ceremony, guests escorted two fire trucks as drivers parked them inside the new station’s large bays.

Frank Hilton presented the department with a scrapbook of the department’s history on behalf of the Brown County Historical Society.

Fire Chief Del Albright, one of three speakers at the dedication, noted that the new fire station replaces the 50-year-old facility at the intersection of Main and Austin. “I believe this new station will serve the city for the next 50 years,” Albright said.

“Fire service traditions are many, and run deep in firefighter souls. We hold the history of our department dear and sacred. In designing and constructing this new facility, we always remember where we came from and who we serve.

“I can speak for the entire Brownwood Fire Department when I I say thank you to this community, and we stand ready to serve always.”

Brent Bruton, president of the Brownwood Professional Firefighters Association, also thanked the community as well as the mayor, city council and city manager.

Mayor Stephen Haynes said the last time the city dedicated a fire station, Truman Harlow was mayor.

“We’re concerned with our tax dollars and we don’t always want to spend big dollars on public facilities,” Haynes said. “But times have changed since 1965, and the firefighters are no longer just firefighters. They’re first responders and environmentalists who have to clean up environmental spills, and do some many other things that we simply were not equipped to handle in the facilities that we had.

“So it’s with great honor that we get to bring the city of Brownwood and Brown County into the modern era of firefighting. Government does have to be conservative with money, but this is the type of facility that only government can do.”

The fire department hosted an open house after the dedication. Guests toured the facility and ate hamburger lunches grilled by Allegiance Ambulance staff.

A Masonic cornerstone ceremony is scheduled for May 8.

Waldrop Construction of Brownwood was the general contractor during the construction of the new fire station, which was one of several projects included in a nearly $11 million city improvement project, funded by the sale of Certificates of Obligation bonds.