116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
After months of delays, the long-awaited, new Marion Fire Station is now complete.
The new station at 100 Irish Dr. is the city's third and will serve as the fire department’s headquarters.
The station is the city’s first new station since 1991, when Marion was around half the size it is today.
The new station is named Fire Station 1. The former Fire Station 1, at 600 Eighth Ave., will be renamed Fire Station 3. The current headquarters is at Fire Station 2, 3933 Katz Dr.
Marion Fire Chief Deb Krebill said the department will begin to move in the building officially on Tuesday. An open house event for the public will be held in the fall.
“We actually stood here on Sept. 11, 2019, for the groundbreaking,” Krebill said at Monday afternoon’s opening event. “We’ve had a lot of obstacles and it held things up, but I’m not looking back at that now. I’m looking forward.”
Throughout the months, multiple situations delayed the opening of the station for various reasons.
The pandemic brought added challenges to the $10.3 million project. And then the Aug. 10 derecho caused minor damage to the new building.
In May, the opening first was pushed back to June due to building materials shortages — a common problem for construction companies over the past year.
A change in management for Christner Construction, the Ottumwa company building the new station, also contributed to the delay.
The new station has biophilic design elements that uses lighting, color and nature to promote the emotional health of firefighters, Krebill said.
The new station also has been designed to keep firefighters safer as they wake up for calls and return from battling fires. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cancer and cardiac arrest are the leading killers of firefighters.
The station is divided into different “zones” based on risk of contaminant exposure. When firefighters return from fires, they can be covered in soot that contains carcinogens.
Red zones are where equipment involved in emergency response and exposed to carcinogens are kept. Yellow zones separate the red and green zones and house storage, cleaning and decontamination facilities, including personal shower spaces.
Green zones are living spaces and neutral spaces such as the lobby.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this building,” Assistant to the City Manager Amal Eltahir said. “It’s fully equipped to handle any emergency situation and the architect did a fine job with our higher design standards.
“This building is built with firefighter wellness in mind.”
A 2015 accreditation study said the city needs four fire stations, with the fourth station to be built near Highway 13 and 35th Avenue.
The city was going to buy the Tri State Towers property, 2957 Highway 13, for the fourth station. But the derecho caused extensive damage to the property and the city backed out of the purchase.
The city is continuing to look for a suitable site for that station.
Last summer, the Marion City Council approved spending $1.1 million for the fourth station. The city budgeted $400,000 for the project, with the Marion Firefighters Association contributing $695,000, largely through a trust set up by Don and Ruth DeVault.
Don DeVault spent 50 years as a volunteer firefighter and left $60,000 to the association when he died. Ruth DeVault gave an additional $907,000 when she died in 2013.
The national standard of response times is four minutes for EMS calls and six minutes for fires. The new stations would ensure that Marion continues to meet those times as the city continues to grow over the next decade, Krebill previously told The Gazette.
Marion City Council member Steve Jensen said in the first six months of 2021 the fire department’s average response time is under three minutes over the course of around 400 calls this year so far. Jensen said 85 percent of those calls were medical calls.
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