New fire station opens in Alburnett
ALBURNETT, Iowa (KCRG) - It only took a second Monday to cut the ribbon to cap off a project decades in the making: moving the Alburnett Fire Department to a bigger space.
“It’s been over 20 years in the process of getting it done,” Ron Hoover, the former fire chief, said.
The department, an all-volunteer force with about 22 firefighters currently, has been working out of its new location, located on Roosevelt Street, for about three weeks. The old location, on N. Main Ave., was too cramped, as the department had outgrown the nearly 70-year-old site.
Hoover said moving to a larger building wasn’t just a matter of convenience.
“It became not safe because the apparatus got larger, the room for the firefighters to respond and put their gear on got tighter, and so it was a safety issue,” Hoover said.
Former Alburnett Mayor and current state Rep. Charlie McClintock said it was an issue that didn’t just affect how fires were put out.
“About 65% of what these volunteer fire departments do are medical calls, so out in these rural areas, it’s extremely important to have a volunteer fire department because they’re the ones that are coming when people are sick or injured or need medical attention initially,” McClintock said.
Bethany Sarazin, Alburnett’s current mayor, said the final cost totaled out to about $1.5 million, as the city had to both acquire some land for the new building and then build it, and it was paid for through city funding, plus grants and fundraising.
Sarazin said the building will benefit the whole city.
“We’ve got a community room that’ll be available for events, as well as we reserved space for some recreation, so we’re hoping to build a park just outside of here as well so this can really become that gathering point for the community that worked so hard to get us here,” Sarazin said.
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