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RFS crew members, residents and dignitaries gathered for the opening of the new fire station. Image: contributed

Rappville rebuilds after fires with new RFS brigade station

A new Rural Fire Service brigade station – that has become a symbol of resilience – has been officially opened in the village of Rappville, north of Grafton.

Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis was joined by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott and RFS Deputy Commissioner Kyle Stewart at a ceremony in the village, which had 21 homes destroyed in the October 2019 bush fires.

Mr Gulaptis said in a village with a population of almost 200, the loss of so many homes was devastating.

“The move to a central location is a major boost to the brigade’s accessibility and firefighting capabilities,” he said.

“It has been purpose-built at a cost of almost $600,000 and I thank the NSW Government, the RFS, Richmond Valley Shire Council, the local community and the brigade members themselves for all the hard work done to make this station a reality.

Mr Elliott said the brigade has a long history in Northern NSW.

“The first fire brigade in Rappville was formed in 1952 where members were issued with equipment including wet bags, a tanker trailer and hand tools.

“Thankfully, the brigade’s 33 members are now housed in a brand-new facility and they can continue their near-70-year practice of actively responding to incidents and supporting neighbouring brigades,” Mr Elliott said.

The new station featured two bays, amenities, workshop, storage room, kitchen and a training room. 

The original station, located 5km outside the village, will continue to be used as a storage facility for the brigade.