ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Roanoke Fire EMS Chief David Hoback showed us just some of the shortcomings of Fire Station No. 7 during a visit Wednesday afternoon.
Building a new fire house with a new footprint, he says, is the best option to meet the department's requirements.
"It's going to be a better station, better departure points, safer environment for our fire and EMS personnel," Hoback told WDBJ7. "And it will be a better service delivery model for the Raleigh Court area."
Mark Lynn Ferguson doesn't want to compromise public safety.
"Everyone in Roanoke agrees," he said, "we need to have first-rate Fire and EMS."
But he said he believes the city can do more to investigate alternatives to tearing down the building.
His online petition on change.org has collected more than 2400 supporters.
"People are clearly fired up," Ferguson said, "and ready to look for new options, new ways to try and save this building."
City Council member John Garland would like to see the architect consider a modern addition that would preserve the oldest part of the station.
"I would be hopeful that this could be a win-win situation," Garland said in an interview, "where the historic flavor of the building could be maintained by saving the building, but also give the fire department what they need, which is a modern fire station to be able to work out of. "
We also spoke with city council member Ray Ferris, who said he was aware of the petition. He said he was scheduled to meet with City Manager Bob Cowell Thursday afternoon.
Ferris said he would ask the city manager to take another look at the issue.