Fire Chief voices station concerns to city council

Fire chief voices station concerns to city council

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The concrete floor in fire station one on Shoupe Avenue is slowly eroding and fire engines can't be housed there anymore.

Fire trucks are parked outside the station with the engines running so they don't freeze.

That's because firefighters worry if they put them in the firehouse the floor will give in and collapse to the basement.

Thursday morning, the department asked the Idaho Falls City Council for help.

"There are major repairs that need to be done to make it livable for the trucks," said Dean Ellis, IF Fire Chief.

The erosion is so bad, only ambulances are allowed in the garage. At night, heavy fire trucks are sent to other stations in the city -- including the ladder truck; one of the key trucks in the fleet.

"It needs to be centrally located downtown," said Ellis. "We've got the high value district here, the tall buildings here, and right now we're having to keep it at fire station 4 which is on Sunnyside and Woodruff."

Ellis expressed his concerns and possible solutions to the city council Thursday.. Filling in the cracks would cost around $200,000 and would be a temporary fix. A new firehouse altogether would come with a price tag of $1-2.5 million.  

"We're looking at maybe going to a bond, but there are costs associated with bonding, so the council is looking at other avenues to maybe see if they can get away from those costs," said Ellis.

Building a new firehouse or doing a temporary fix will take a while to get done. In the meantime, the trucks will have to stay outside.

The council made it clear that it's not a matter of if they'll help, but how they'll pay for it.

They'll discuss that in the coming weeks, but they say they've invested a lot of money in the engines and they need a home.

Response time to the downtown area is delayed by about three minutes at night when the engines are kept in other stations.

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