Public Safety

Marion prepares for third fire station

Newstrack | catching up on an earlier story

Deb Krebill stands with a Marion Fire Department truck in 2014 after being named fire chief of the department. She and the city are planning for a third fire station to be built along Tower Terrace Road once land is acquired. A fourth station is eventually planned near Highway 13. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Deb Krebill stands with a Marion Fire Department truck in 2014 after being named fire chief of the department. She and the city are planning for a third fire station to be built along Tower Terrace Road once land is acquired. A fourth station is eventually planned near Highway 13. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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BACKGROUND

In 2015, a study commissioned by the Marion Fire Department found a need for two additional fire stations to serve the growing community and reduce response times.

The city has two stations, at 600 Eighth Ave. and at 3933 Katz Dr.

The study, completed by the nonprofit Center for Public Safety Excellence, recommended a third fire station be built by near Tower Terrace Road and 10th Street.

The city already had plans to build a third station in 2018 at the time of the study.

The study recommended a fourth station be built by 2021 near Highway 13 and 35th Avenue.

The study also recommended the department hire more firefighters to staff the additional stations.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE

While plans have been in place for a third fire station for several years, finding the proper location has taken some time.

Jason Hansen, assistant chief with the Marion Fire Department, said the city now is in the process of acquiring land along Tower Terrace Road.

“I think there’s a possibility we could potentially be breaking ground by the end of the year,” Hansen said, adding that remains tentative, based on securing a site.

City Manager Lon Pluckhahn said a purchase agreement still is being discussed with the property owner.

But the site under discussion, he said, is on the south side of Tower Terrace Road near where the new Regional YMCA in Marion has been proposed.

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In terms of staffing, Hansen said the department has acquired six new firefighters since the 2015 study and plans to add three more early next year.

In terms of the department’s fleet, Hansen said the city only expects to buy an SUV for a medic unit. The current fleet, he said, should be able to supply the new facility.

When complete, Fire Station No. 3 will be a major addition to the community, Hansen added.

“This is most definitely a benefit, not just to the department, but the community as a whole,” he said. “It is going to decrease our response times.”

Hansen said the department still plans on adding a fourth station, but major discussions on that will wait until after the third station is built.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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