Fire Board Moves Ahead With Sta­tion

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Sally Car­roll

The Good­man Area Fire Pro­tec­tion Dis­trict is mov­ing for­ward with se­cur­ing a new lo­ca­tion for a fire sta­tion.

Good­man fire chief Keith Estes said that the de­part­ment is con­sid­er­ing a spec build­ing that would en­able the crew to aid the com­mu­nity.

Doors are be­ing in­stalled in the build­ing this week, he said, and once the in­stal­la­tion is com­plete, the fire board will have the op­por­tu­nity to in­spect the build­ing and

of­fi­cially vote to move for­ward or not.

The spec build­ing is across the al­ley­way from the orig­i­nal build­ing, Estes said.

The April 4 tor­nado that ripped through town de­mol­ished two sta­tions on Main Street. En­gines and trucks were trapped un­der the rub­ble.

Since that time, Choice Pup­pies of­fi­cials of­fered fire crews the op­por­tu­nity to store the ve­hi­cles at one of their build­ings. Seven ve­hi­cles — in­clud­ing a pumper truck do­nated by the Breese, Ill., Fire Dis­trict — are be­ing stored there, Estes said.

Estes said he hoped that the crew could have moved into the spec build­ing six months prior, but board mem­bers dis­agreed about how to move for­ward.

Board chair­man Bud Gil­more said mul­ti­ple is­sues plagued the board, in­clud­ing de­cid­ing on the lo­ca­tion.

Some pre­ferred to re­build at the for­mer lo­ca­tion, but it sim­ply wasn’t go­ing to be big enough nor al­low for fu­ture growth, Gil­more said.

The spec build­ing fits the bud­get. Though ex­tra funds will have to be paired with the in­surance set­tle­ment money, Estes be­lieves the board will be able to buy the build­ing out­right. Gil­more said board mem­bers have con­ferred with their ac­coun­tant and sufficient funds have been ear­marked for the pur­chase.

Estes said the build­ing will al­low for the fire crew to move in and get up to speed quickly.

In ad­di­tion, a build­ing next door to the spec lo­ca­tion also will con­vey, al­low­ing for three of­fices. Board mem­bers hope to des­ig­nate an of­fice for the fire board, one for the fire chief and a third for the fire­fight­ers, Gil­more said.

“A farmer stepped up, and I be­lieve he has ev­ery in­ten­tion that we have the build­ing,” Gil­more said.

Estes said that a new fire sta­tion will help fire­fight­ers’ morale. The lack of a main fire sta­tion has been dif­fi­cult for the vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers.

“It’s still a strug­gle when you don’t have a home to go to,” he said.

The last year’s lessons have taught Estes that life some­times throws you a real curve ball.

“You are never, ever pre­pared enough,” he said.

Through the tri­als of the last year — and try­ing to se­cure a new lo­ca­tion — Estes has kept mov­ing for­ward.

“I have been a pub­lic ser­vant for 35 years of my life,” he said. “We are here to de­liver a ser­vice to the pub­lic for their safety,” he said.

De­spite set­backs and dis­agree­ments of lo­ca­tion, Estes re­mains un­de­terred.

“I’m not a quit­ter.”

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