UPDATE: Council Postpones Vote on New Merrill Fire Station

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Merrill could be moving closer to a building a new, central fire station by the end of Tuesday.

The city council is expected to vote on whether to purchase a piece of property for the estimated $4.5 million facility.

Merrill currently has two fire stations on both sides of the city. Recently the city council approved the sale of fire station two, on the city's west side.

But fire station one has some problems of its own.

"Just the age is a particular problem, but we have some space issues too," said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Hintze. "There's not any more room at fire station one to house anymore emergency vehicles."

Fire station one was built nearly 100 years ago and has been renovated twice, but still isn't up to snuff. The wiring is bad and so is the plumbing.

The city has eyed a piece of property on East Second Street as a possible location for the new fire station. Hintze says its central location is ideal to keep response times short. The council could approve its purchase Tuesday.

Response time is always a concern for the department, and will be even more so once fire station two closes.

Personnel will be moved to station one, but there won't be room for station two's pumper truck, ambulance and 6-wheeled utility vehicle.

Once station two closes, those vehicles will be stored at other city locations.

City Administrator David Johnson says a new station is in Merrill's best interest.

"We'll have a fire station that functions in a much more efficient manner, its much safer for our employees to work in and it'll look like a fire station today should, rather than one from 1915," Johnson said.

Hintze says whatever the council decides, the fire department will continue to put public safety first.

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