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New Howard fire station opens near Merriweather in Columbia to serve growing population

To help serve the growing population of Columbia, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services has opened a new fire station near Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Merriweather Fire Station, also known as Station 14, is a full-service fire station that provides fire suppression and emergency medical services. The station has one fire engine and one paramedic ambulance.

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A grand-opening ceremony, with a blessing by Howard Chief Chaplin Steve Stone, was held Monday morning.

As downtown Columbia continues to grow, Station 14 will assist the Banneker Fire Station/Station 7 during emergency situations. The two stations are approximately a mile away from each other.

The new station increases the fire department’s ability to respond to the community, said Howard Fire Chief Christine Uhlhorn.

The two stations serve nearly 46,000 residents in the county’s west Columbia region.

“I’m so excited,” Uhlhorn said. “This is the first station I opened that is a brand-new station.”

It may be the county’s smallest fire station, “but it brings the most protection” for the county’s firefighters, Uhlhorn said.

The fire engine is equipped with a clean cab apparatus — compartments that hold contaminated equipment — to minimize firefighters’ exposures to carcinogens.

“Whatever we can do to make it less dangerous [for firefighters] we need to do it,” Uhlhorn said. “We will do everything we can to keep our firefighters safe and healthy.”

County Executive Calvin Ball said the new fire station “is exceptional.”

“My hope is that we can continue to ensure we have the infrastructure that helps us foster an excellent quality of life including additional fire stations” in Columbia, Ball said.

Construction on the 6,800-square-foot building began in March.

A single-story structure, the facility includes two apparatus bays, general-use rooms, a kitchen and dining room, administrative offices, and a room to be used as a unified command center for large-scale special events happening in Columbia Town Center and Merriweather Post Pavilion area.

Howard Fire Capt. John Breznak will oversee the new station, which will have six career personnel across three shifts.

Through a public-private partnership with the Howard Hughes Corp., the new fire station was built at no cost to the county. Fox Architects of Washington, D.C., was the project architect.

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Station 14 is located at the base of a parking garage at 6025 Symphony Woods Road in Columbia.

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