Riga, Latvia – The U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, Mark Pekala, participated March 21 in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the newly reconstructed Fire and Rescue Station in Gulbene. Ministry of Interior State Secretary Ilze Pētersone-Godmane, Latvian State Fire and Rescue Service Deputy Chief Colonel Intars Zitāns, and the Head of the Gulbene Regional Council Sandra Daudziņa will also participate in the ceremony.
The fire station’s renovation included the construction of a new three-bay garage, as well as the replacement of the doors, ventilation system and electrical systems, and the roof of the existing garage. The renovation work was carried out by SIA “Ekers,” and was financed by the Civic Engagement program of U.S. European Command in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation in Latvia. The total contract value is $477,180 USD.
Gulbene Fire Brigade station Chief Vijārs Griķis is satisfied with the finished project, noting that it will help the Gulbene fire fighters respond to emergencies even faster. “We are happy to see another renovated and beautiful building in Gulbene, and, of course, our emergency response time has definitely decreased. This is of great benefit to everyone in the Gulbene municipality.”
Together with the U.S. Embassy in Latvia, in 2013 the United States European Command will complete refurbishment projects at eight fire brigade stations across Latvia, work valued at over 2.3 million USD. Several new projects in collaboration with Latvia’s Emergency Medical Services will follow this year as well.
For more information about the Office of Defense Cooperation Civic Engagement programs in Latvia, please see: http://riga.usembassy.gov/engagements_en.html.