Al's Restoration volunteers to finish new facility's facade with salvaged bricks from old fire hall

A little bit of downtown history was added to the new Grand Rapids Fire Hall recently.

Prior to the old fire hall being demolished to make way for the new jail, several firefighters salvaged brick from the old downtown facility, which was built in 1962. The firefighters hoped to utilize the brick somewhere in the new fire hall.  

The firefighters ended up finding a perfect place to utilize the old brick and limestone at the new fire hall around the front posts. The project came to fruition when Al Lauer, a local contractor with Al’s Restoration, donated labor and material to give the new fire hall a classic look.

Lauer and his employee Forest Johnson used the salvaged bricks along with 4-foot by 8-foot limestone panels that were from the top of the old building. Work took about one week and was completed late last month. 

Lauer was initially contacted for an estimate for the brick restoration project, but after learning more about it, he decided to volunteer his time as a thank you to the fire department. 

“It was my way of showing my appreciation to the department and the firefighters,” Lauer said. “It just seemed like a good thing to do. I told them if they had everything prepped for me, I would just volunteer and do my thing.”

Fire Chief Travis Cole said current and former firefighters appreciated Lauer’s work and how it ties in the old building with the new.

“This piece of history will be around for a long time that will give future guests and citizens of our city an idea of what our old fire hall used to look like,” Cole wrote. “The current and former members of the Grand Rapids Fire Department would like to say ‘Thank You’ as this means a lot to us.”

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