ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke residents took their last look at the "Old Number 7" before it comes down for good.
The oanoke Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department hosted an open house of its Fire Station 7 on Saturday. The firehouse was built in Grandin Village in 1922, but it will soon be replaced with a new fire station where the old one now stands.
"Any time you lose a structure you have sentimental value to, there's some sadness," Roanoke Fire EMS Chief David Hoback said. "If there was any way we could do it other than this, we would have."
The historic firehouse will come down after firefighters move out in the next few weeks, but elements from the old building will be salvaged for the new building. Bricks from the old Fire Station 7 will be used to build one of the walls in the new fire station, and the doors from the historic firehouse will be installed in the new one.
The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation, which led a fight to preserve the building, will install a marker in front of the old building explaining the history of the site.
"It's important to understand what you're losing and also where you're moving forward to," said Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation Executive Director Alison Blanton. "The most important part is the history. Sometimes you need the building there to help tell the history, but since we're not going to have that, at least we'll have the history."
Hoback says he knows the old building means a lot to many people in Roanoke but the new building is the best move for serving the Roanoke of the future.
“I don’t know what the next 75 years will hold, just like the chief in 1922 didn’t know where we would be today,” Hoback said. “I want to make sure I have the vision to accommodate that.”