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LFR Chief talks new Station 17, other future changes

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 4:34 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Changes are on the horizon for Lincoln Fire & Rescue.

In late September, the department announced the location for its next, new fire station.

Station 17 will be located just to the east of 40th and Wilderness Hills Boulevard.

(KOLN/Gray TV)

Fire Chief Dave Engler told 10/11 NOW the safety of Lincoln residents is what’s always the biggest priority when it comes to serving the Capital City, and expanding those services.

“It’s very clear that the growth is out that direction,” Chief Engler said. “Knowing that the area is a little bit underserved right now, and knowing that that area is going to grow, that’s clearly an area where we need to have a fire station.”

Right now, there isn’t a timeline for when the station will be constructed and opened. Engler did say that it will house a fire engine and, potentially, a fire truck. The addition of a new truck would be historic, as it would be the first new truck company established since the mid-1950s. It would be a very welcome sight to many, as calls for another truck to be placed in service have grown over recent years.

“I would anticipate that a truck company would go there,” Engler said, when discussing what all would go inside Station 17. “We could probably use two truck companies, but for that location, certainly that’s going to be a consideration.”

Fire trucks are not the only emergency vehicles LFR is looking to add.

“We are looking at adding medic units,” Engler said. “We have to look at EMS through a business-type lens, and we have to make sure that we’ve got the funding to sustain those positions.”

Bring in the biggest factor in all of the new additions: staffing. Lincoln Fire & Rescue says they’re just fine when it comes to personnel at their 16 fire stations. However, like so many other departments across the country, finding applicants to join the department isn’t an easy task.

“We’re able to meet all of our staffing needs right now, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not a little bit concerned over what we’re seeing,” Engler said.

The department is currently in the midst of a hiring process, as they’re looking to hire firefighters and firefighter paramedics. You can find more information about the department and the hiring process by clicking this link.

LFR says there’s also another big concern the department is facing right now: deteriorating fire stations. Engler says there are four stations that need to be completely replaced. They include Station 3 (2nd & O Streets), Station 9 (Cotner & Vine), Station 8 (17th & Van Dorn), and LFR’s Headquarters/Station 1 (18th & Q Streets).

Chief Engler says Station 8 simply needs to be demolished and rebuilt, due to its deteriorating condition.

“We do believe a new fire headquarters/Station 1 is necessary,” he said. “We [also] had a group of engineers come in and they took a look at our existing other stations. We have found that Station 3 and Station 9 have some structural problems.”

Overall, with all the needs LFR faces, Chief Engler says the department is in a good place to move forward in addressing all of those pressing matters.

“We do have a really good idea of what needs to be replaced, what can be renovated, and where we want to go in the future, so at least we’ve got a road map for what we want to do and then we’ve got to figure out how to fund it.”

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