PETERSBURG, AK City officials and local volunteers are celebrating the start of construction of a new fire hall and emergency medical services building in Petersburg. Elected leaders, city staff and volunteers with the fire department and EMTs held a ground breaking ceremony Thursday at the site of the new 18,000-square-foot building on Haugen Drive. Petersburg Mayor Al Dwyer thanked the governor and Petersburg’s legislators for the eight million dollars in grants the city has received from the state, which looks like more than enough to finish the project. Overall the building could cost around six and a half million dollars including the site preparation, design work, construction and furnishings. The new building will move the department’s trucks and ambulances out of their current cramped quarters in the municipal building on main street. It will also have offices for paid personnel and training space for the volunteers who fight fires, make ambulance calls and do search and rescue missions. McGraw’s Custom Construction of Sitka is building the new fire hall. The building should be complete by October 1st of next year. Joe Viechnicki spoke with the city’s project coordinator Tom Reinharts following the ground breaking.