Springfield to construct four new fire stations, city officials break ground for first
The City of Springfield will build four new fire stations. City officials broke ground on the first station last Wednesday. The money for the new stations comes from the American Rescue Plan and the City of Springfield. They will cost between $15 and $18 million.
Fighting fires has changed over the decades. Now, calls to fire houses include medical emergencies, hazmat and special rescue calls.
Brian Miller is the city’s fire chief.
“When fire departments started, and our fire department was started in 1850, we weren’t running EMS,” he said. “Now it’s a humongous part of what we do. Between 85% and 90% of our call volume is EMS.”
The tech has changed, too – more equipment, larger fire engines and a need for Wi-Fi throughout the station.
“Back in the day, there were coats and boots and that was it. But today we have all of this personal safety equipment. We need places to store that,” Miller said. “We [don’t just] need places to park the ambulance, but then there’s all the EMS gear – the splints and the backboards and the extra Band-Aids and all of those things.”
Springfield’s older stations didn’t have enough space for any of this. In fact, Station #3 on Selmer Road is too small to house an ambulance. In fact, it can’t hold a modern fire engine – they can’t fit through the doors.
The new stations will.
“Floors will be big enough to put a ladder truck, the longest truck in the fleet, or an ambulance, the shortest truck in the fleet,” Miller said. “[We] will have plenty of room for all of it, including reserve apparatus.”
There will also be added improvements for the firefighters themselves. Current fire houses have rooms with five or six beds in them for firefighters of all genders. The new stations will take their privacy into account.
“These stations will have individual bedrooms for privacy, individual bathrooms for privacy. So we’re just trying to address all of the needs,” Miller said.
Miller also said that the new station locations were chosen based on areas where service has previously been needed.
They took a look at around 3 years of call data from the Springfield Fire Department and identified areas with high call volumes. They then identified ideal locations for potential fire houses to be built to properly address these needs.
“Then of course, you do have to find property that’s available,” Miller said. “And for the most part, we were within three or four blocks based on their recommendations for locations.”
The first station to have ground broke, Station #2, should be completed by the end of 2023. The next three stations will be built concurrently in 2023, and should be completed by the end of 2024.