East Marshall Fire District building new fire station

An area fire district is spending $1.2 million on a new station that firefighters say will keep the community safer.

Marshall County has 16 fire stations, all volunteer. The East Marshall Fire District has three of those and is now replacing one of them. The new station will be at 1389 Big Bear Highway. It sits on the highway, unlike the old one that was on a side road —Boat Werks Road. Firefighters say that makes the new one more accessible and betters their response time.

With her home and her son’s shop on one property, Linda Viniard says losing the property would be devastating.

"To me that would, no I could not imagine. I just pray I never lose mine to fire," Viniard said.

She welcomed the news that the East Marshall Fire District is building a station right across the street from her home.

"There’s not one close by, so we feel like we’ll have better protection here," Viniard said.

Firefighters say the 5,400-square-foot station will hold three trucks and replace district’s current station on Boat Werks Road.

Fire Chief Tex Johnson says problems in the current station include mold, mildew and rotting walls.

"When water comes up, the septic system doesn’t work. Termites took their toll on it," said Johnson.

He says under the fire district’s insurance regulations, there must be a station within five miles of all the homes in the district, so having a station that’s up to code is important. 

"Being we can respond quicker and have better equipment, it changes the whole ball game," Johnson said.

Viniard says she couldn’t be happier to have new neighbors moving in across the street.

"It’s something for us all to look forward to," she said.

Johnson says the district bought the property for about $26,000 out of its budget. He says the district didn’t own the old station’s property and, instead of investing in repairs there, he’d rather the fire district invest in its own property.

The district is paying for the new station through a 20-year mortgage. It will pay in increments each year. The district operates on taxpayer dollars.

Johnson expects construction to start within the next week. He expects it to be finished in the spring.

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