Suamico develops plan for new fire station; discusses adding EMS wing

The Suamico fire department and the Village are developing plans for a new fire station.
The Suamico fire department and the Village are developing plans for a new fire station.(WBAY)
Published: Sep. 16, 2019 at 4:36 PM CDT
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The Village of Suamico continues to see growth and its fire department is looking to grow right along with it.

Village leaders are in the process of designing a brand new fire station.

It's expected to cost $5-6 million.

The department has outgrown its current fire station, built in 1967, along Riverside Drive in the heart of downtown Suamico.

Firefighter’s gear is stored just a couple feet from the fire trucks, posing a safety hazard.

“People are getting dressed and trucks are pulling out, there's potential for getting run over or something worse,” Assistant Fire Chief, Joe Bertler said.

The new location for the fire station will be on the corner of Riverside Drive and West Deerfield Avenue, less than a mile from its current location in the heart of a growing downtown.

“It gets very busy over the weekend and at nights and it's a really congested area,” Village Administrator, Alex Kaker said.

Designs for the new facility are still being developed.

On Monday, the village board will talk about also adding an EMS wing to the plan.

“Right now we contract with county rescue and they provide EMS for the area, and if we were to build a section for EMS here, we would anticipate leasing that out to county rescue,” Kaker said.

There’s a potential the village could take over EMS service in the years to come, so the addition would be in anticipation of the change.

Firefighters say they work in conjunction with EMS anyway and it would make sense house the rescue squad and fire department together.

“[We work together] running the same calls… we’re going to the same areas, helps EMS just by getting to know each other,” Assistant Chief Bertler said.

Bertler says the department responds to about 227 fire calls per year, and about 1,000 EMS and fire calls per year. That number is anticipated to grow more people and developments pop-up.

As the village looks to the future, leaders are also looking at some staffing changes as the department has struggled to retain firefighters.

“We're hiring and training paid-on-call firefighters and then they're leaving for full-time positions elsewhere,” Kaker said.

The village just hired its first full time firefighter this year and hopes to add more, but right now the goal is finding a full-time fire chief.

“Before we get too many new full time firefighters, we want to make sure we have somebody here who is providing oversight of the department and being a leader of the department, that's why we're recruiting for a full-time fire chief,” said Kaker.