La Crosse Fire Department requests funding to replace north side station

“There’s not much new here, as you can see,” explained Captain Jim HIllcoat of the La Crosse Fire Department.

Nearly 80 years old, Fire Station Four has a lot of history to it, and a lot of wear and tear.

“You see the windows on the apparatus bay? What happens when you have windows like that? What happens to your utility bills?” questioned Hillcoat.

Designed for smaller vehicles, the station is running out of space.

“We don’t have a proper room in here to store our maintenance equipment, tools, everything’s just kind of piled out in our apparatus bay,” said Hillcoat.

In order to create more room for the needs of a modern firefighter, the department requested $6 million in funding for a new station.

“Where would you want your family member working? Would you want them working in this kind of facility or would you want them working somewhere better?” asked Ken Gilliam, Fire Chief of the La Crosse Fire Department.

At first, there was a possibility they would renovate the historic building to fit the modern firefighter, but discovered it would be cheaper to build new.

“We can improve how we carry out our mission, and how we do our jobs better,” explained Hillcoat.

The lack of room is also an issue in the living quarters as well.

“It’s not always really pleasant to sleep in the same room where people are sweating a lot, but we take our fitness pretty seriously, so we’re going to get it done one way or another,” added Hillcoat, when describing how close free weights were to station beds.

And unfortunately, historical equipment is stuck in the attic.

“It would be great to have a fire station to be able to place a lot of these archives,” wished Hillcoat.

For the fire department, it’s a waiting game to see if the request is approved by the city.

“I’m very optimistic that council is going to get behind this and support it I think we’ve presented all the details and data that they need to make an informed decision,” hoped Gilliam.

Leaving the future of the station in the dark until then.

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