The gear locker inside the addition to the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department north station.

Members of the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department sipped coffee and offered visitors snacks Sunday morning at an open house for the expanded north fire station on Stevenson Pier Road in Gardner.

The addition – which includes two vehicle bays, a mezzaine, storage room, and gear locker room – was made possible by the April 2016 referendum in the three southern Door County towns that authorized $2.8 million in spending for a new south fire/EMS station along County Road C in Brussels.

Fire Chief Curt Vandertie said new station, which will replace the cramped station in downtown Brussels, should be finished by early 2018.

The new BUG south fire station, which includes a Door County EMS ambulance garage, takes shape along County Road C east of the Belgian Delight restaurant.

The department moved into the Gardner addition about a month ago, in time for the department’s annual family picnic, Vandertie said.

Among its other features the Gardner station now has a hose-drying tower that allows firefighters to lift hoses off the ground to dry vertically.