Newman Lake Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Yamane wasn’t fazed by the pounding hail and rain that delayed the ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of a new fire station Saturday.
“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s like a dream come true.”
A crowd of about 50 turned out to dig up a bit of dirt with a golden shovel, eat cake made in the shape of the new fire station and celebrate the coming addition to the community.
“It’s going to happen,” said Newman Lake Fire Auxiliary treasurer Terry White. “This has been a long time coming. It’s so exciting.”
The fire district bought 12 acres of land at Starr and Moffat roads years ago, but getting the funds to build a new station was an issue. An attempt at a $2.2 million bond failed in 2011. A request for a $1.1 million bond was approved by voters in 2014. The district paid off its debts and saved money to make up the difference.
The new station will have five truck bays, a meeting room, a laundry room, a decontamination room and equipment storage. There will also be sleeping quarters for four people, which will allow the mostly volunteer district to start a resident volunteer program.
“We’ll have quicker response times with residents at the station,” Yamane said.
The station will also have a kitchen that can be operated with a generator, allowing the facility to be used as a shelter during a power outage.
Construction will begin in May and be complete in January or February, Yamane said. The general contractor is Ginno Construction of Coeur d’Alene.
The new station will replace the current Station 1 at 10236 N. West Newman Lake Drive. It was built in 1966 and doesn’t comply with current building codes. It has no sprinkler system and when the power is out, firefighters have to raise and lower the garage doors by hand. The truck bays are so narrow that the older fire engines the district owns barely fit inside, with gouges on concrete supports showing how many times the side mirrors have hit them. A new, larger fire truck would not fit inside.
As White waited under a tent for the rain and hail to stop, she said the old fire station was no longer safe for the district’s volunteers. “It’s the best thing that can happen to this community,” she said of the new station.
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