By Susan Redden
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Joplin firefighters probably made thousands of trips down a brass sliding pole that found its way back to city ownership on Thursday.
The fire pole — part of the original Joplin No. 2 fire station constructed in the 1930s — was presented to Joplin Fire Department officials by members of the Joplin Host Lions Club in ceremonies at the Lions Club building, 1827 S. Wall Ave.
The pole will be installed to serve a new crop of Joplin firefighters at a new station to be constructed at 34th Street and Hearnes Boulevard. A vintage fire ladder from the Lions Club building also will go to a new fire station to be constructed near 13th Street and Schifferdecker Avenue.
Leroy Potter, with the Joplin Host Lions Club, made the presentation during a brief ceremony. The equipment was accepted by Battalion Chief Doug Nolan, with several other firefighters and Chief Mitch Randles on hand.
“There’s no telling,” Nolan said when asked to speculate how many trips had been made down the pole by firefighters leaving second-story sleeping quarters to answer calls.
The station was constructed in 1939 and was used by the department until city crews moved to a new station in the 1980s. The Lions Club purchased the building from the city in 1984.
“They would have used it to go to a fire, but they also would have used it when they went downstairs for any reason,” Nolan said.
Firefighters will be able to repeat that tradition at the new station, Randles said. A two-story design and arched windows and doors will be some of the elements that repeat the design of an early firehouse.
“The guys can’t wait until that station is built because they all want to slide down the pole,” he said.
Randles said he has talked with firefighters in Springfield, where fire poles are in use in some stations.
“They said everyone wants to do that for a while, then the new wears off and they start taking the stairs,” he said.
Potter said the Lions Club stored the pole after it was taken down during a remodeling project. It had been offered to the city several times earlier.
“We’re glad it can go back where it belongs,” he said.
Randles said construction has not started on the new stations. The City Council will consider contracts for the projects on April 15.
THE LIONS CLUB lent the brass pole out once for use by the Stained Glass Theatre in its production of “The Merry-Go-Round.”