TO THOUSANDS of motorists passing the old Warwick fire station each day, it's an unremarkable building on a busy road.
The station's utilitarian structure and industrial location conceal the significant role it has played protecting lives and property in Warwick for almost 60 years from 1938 to 2002.
Former fire officer Glen Rees recalls when the station operated with a 24-hour roster and employed 16 permanent fire fighters and a crew of auxiliaries.
"A lot of very important buildings in Warwick, including schools, wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the old Warwick fire station and the men and women who worked there," Mr Rees said.
"There are so many historic wooden buildings in the township and the station was strategically well placed to get to them quickly from the centre of Warwick."
Mr Rees said two officers would man the station overnight and sleep upstairs, waiting to make their next emergency dash.
"One of the most significant buildings we saved in my time at the old fire station was the old woollen mills in the 1990s which was a major employer in Warwick."
Much has changed in the fire service, particularly with auxiliary crews now playing a major role in emergency services. Cost cutting and the need for a bigger site for training marked the end of the station's time serving Warwick and its surrounds.
"It served the community with distinction until Queensland Fire & Emergency Services decided the building had passed its use-by date to meet the needs of modern fire fighters and moved to the present Canning Street location," Mr Rees said.
"There is a real nostalgia around it because most Queensland towns had a fire station like it before they gave way to modern stations you see today."
Since 2002, the building has been owned privately and operated as an antique shop, museum, camping store and home.
Located at 56 Albion Street, the fire station is for sale.
For more than $490,000, the eventual buyer will own a renovated building that will serve well as a home or business. It has three bedrooms, closed in veranda, dining room, kitchen, bathroom six undercover car spaces and fire engine bay.
Owner Brisbane businessman Brian Buchner is also selling two adjoining sites - one has a renovated three-bedroom house, the other a vacant block. The three properties on 4200sq m are for sale as a package for offers above $990, 000.
Mr Buchner described the sale as a "unique opportunity".
The property has been for sale since last year but Mr Buchner said there had been recent interest from investors from outside Warwick.
"It's quite unlimited what could be done with the building because it's well constructed and is zoned for mixed use, so could be used as an office or home."
Mr Buchner has owned the parcel of land and buildings for 15 years.
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