Public Safety

Marion's third fire station isn't built yet. The city is buying land for a fourth already

Chief Deb Krebill talks moving into new headquarters, plans for new training facility

The Marion Fire Department is purchasing property and buildings at 2957 Highway 13 for a fourth fire station and trainin
The Marion Fire Department is purchasing property and buildings at 2957 Highway 13 for a fourth fire station and training center. The property will be rented out until the city needs a fourth station in the next three to four years. (Photo submitted by Deb Krebill)
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MARION — Although the Marion Fire Department broke ground on a third fire station just last fall, the department has already sited and is in the process of purchasing land for a fourth station, which may not be needed for another three to four years.

An accreditation study in 2015 showed that Marion needs four fire stations, with the last one near Highway 13 and 35th Avenue.

The Marion City Council earlier this month approved buying land for a fourth station at 2957 Highway 13 for $1.1 million.

The city budgeted $400,000 for the project, and the Marion Fire Fighters Association is covering the other $695,000.

Much of the cost of the fourth fire station is coming from a trust given to the firefighters association by Don and Ruth DeVault.

Don DeVault, who spent 50 years as a volunteer firefighter, gave $60,000 to the association when he died. Ruth DeVault gave another $907,000 to the association when she died in 2013.

Marion Fire Chief Deb Krebill said she has been looking for a location for a fourth fire station and training facility since she became chief six years ago.

The Gazette recently spoke with Krebill about her vision for the department.

Q: Why use the DeVault money for this purchase?

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A: I always said the perfect project for that money would be a training facility for the firefighters. When we saw the Tri State Towers property at 2957 Highway 13 was for sale, I thought it would be perfect.

Our firefighters have trained on high angle rescue in that tower (on the Tri State Towers property) for the last couple years.

The site fits the map for where a fourth station is recommended, and the response time at that location is under four minutes.

Q: What is the benchmark for when a fourth fire station is needed?

A: The development to the north. With Prospect Meadows (baseball complex) we’re expecting to see a lot of growth in the northeast portion of Marion, and an increase in population is going to determine when (we need a fourth fire station).

Q: What will you do with the property in the meantime?

A: We’re in the process of closing the sale. It’s supposed to close by Aug. 1. The property will be leased until we’re able to put Fire Station 4 there.

Q: The fire station currently under construction is a state-of-the-art facility. What is your vision for Station 4?

A: Station 4 will be a satellite station, whereas our newest station on Irish Drive will be our new headquarters because we’ve outgrown the headquarters at Station 2.

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A satellite station is just a place to respond from. There will be no offices or administration. Satellite stations are important because we want to be able to respond in less than four minutes per the national fire protection standards.

Q: When will the department move into the new station headquarters?

A: The contract was for (construction) to be completed by Dec. 31. It is on schedule. ... Hopefully we’ll be moved in by February.

Q: How much additional staff will you need for another two stations?

A: Over the last four years, we’ve been hiring three firefighters a year to get enough to man (the new fire station headquarters). We will hire the last three for that expansion this month. We will need another 12 to 15 for a fourth station.

(With the third station) there will be 41 firefighters and 25 volunteer firefighters.

Comments: (319) 398-8411; grace.king@thegazette.com

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