Creston Fire Chief
"It started two and a half years ago when the
About six weeks ago, it was revealed the building would be liquidated as an asset to the community and anyone interested in the building could apply for it, Jackson said.
His goal is to have the city acquire the building as a second fire station and training center.
"Our current fire station, ... we've outgrown that building," Jackson said. "It really wasn't designed for what the fire service does today. We're on that verge of size, and there are communities of similar sizes that operate two stations or multiple stations. It's not a totally uncommon thing, and the cost makes it a viable option."
The cost to the city for utilities would be about
The current fire station has a small training room, Jackson said.
"It really will not accept more than 18 firefighters in it at a time," he said. "With our volunteer staff, we're up to 30 firefighters, so if everybody shows up to training or a meeting, we can't all fit."
In addition, the fire department has trailers -- a technical rescue trailer and hazmat trailer -- that must stay outside due to lack of space.
Jackson said acquiring the building would be a better option than extending the current building.
"To add on ... you're easily over a half a million dollars, which we all know is not in the immediate budget of the city," Jackson said. "This would allow us a couple things. No. 1, we'd be able to move a fire engine to that location. ... Also, it has a large meeting-room area, which would take the pressure off us for a training facility, allowing us to train there."
The plan is to place one engine at the new station, and the firefighters assigned to that engine would respond to that location.
"The only big issue would be ... if there's gear at one station that would have to go to the other station," Jackson said. "But, it occurs in larger cities all the time; they deal with it."
Jackson said if Creston Fire acquires the building, it could be used for training for other first responders, too.
Another perk for the fire department would be receiving credits from the
"One of the things they look at is response time and diversification of resources, or basically, having fire stations spread out throughout a community," Jackson said. "They like to have a fire engine every two and a half miles. So, that would help us, especially on that end of town."
"It would be a training center for all first responders within the county if they so choose to use it," Duckworth said. "It would also give me some storage space I don't have. Currently, all of my assets are sitting in an unsecured lot, so it would provide some protection there. It would also allow us to have an EOC, an
The impact of acquiring the large space would be "almost immeasurable" on first-responder training, Duckworth said.
"Getting all of us together in a room is not able to happen -- not at the fire department and not here at my office," Duckworth said. "We just don't have the room, either one of us. While I have access to the conference room upstairs, that's not really big enough and it's not accessible. So, I think it would make a huge impact. We wouldn't have to limit our classes to 10 or 15 people, and we'd have room to exercise and do those kinds of things as a response team, and that's invaluable."
Duckworth said the building is in good shape for Emergency Management's needs, but there would be necessary additions, including installing audio-visual equipment.
Potential of working together
While Creston Fire and Emergency Management submitted separate applications, the two agencies have expressed interest in possibly working together.
"It's my hope that the fire department and I can work things out," Duckworth said. "I really hope Creston Fire, the city of Creston and (Emergency Management) can proceed with this jointly. I have resources they don't have, and they have resources I don't have."
Duckworth added: "I'm anxious to hear what the powers that be on the building have to say, and hopefully we can all move forward and create a valuable relationship."
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