DES MOINES, Iowa -- When it comes to first response times, seconds can save lives. "It is a great benefit for our community to have one really close. This is an extremely active fire station," said Mark Doll, the Senior Pastor at the east side Church of the Nazarene. Doll grew worried when his nearby fire station number along Easton Boulevard and Hubbell Avenue recently closed for repairs. "It definitely adds to the concern that if there's an emergency in the neighborhood the response time would be slower than it is presently," said Doll.
Lieutenant Chris Clement says the building was deteriorating, putting firefighters in danger. "The structure is getting older so there`s been some water damage and other concerns like electrical and otherwise but the primary concern is the stairs," said Clement.
The $66,000 repair process will last over a month. Clement said, "We are hoping for thirty or forty days. The contractor has been given forty-five days so we are hoping by the end of July that things will be back up to normal here at station three.
With ten stations and an administration building strategically located throughout Des Moines to serve the community, fire fighters and equipment at station three are now spread out. Clement said, "We have some at our administration building. Our ambulance is there. We also have some at station six on the southeast side and on the north side closer to Highland Park."
Doll says pushing first responders further away is not a reassuring strategy. "I'm sure they still could get here fairly quickly depending on traffic but obviously this is an extremely close one that does get a lot of calls so those are going to have to be handled by one fewer station in this area," said Doll.
The church is less than a block away from fire station number three. Depending on the number of calls during the day fire officials say you don't always get the station closest to you. "When people in Des Moines call 911 we use computer aided dispatching, which means regardless of your proximity to a fire station you always get the closest apparatus and personnel," Clement said.
Faith may be blind but when it comes to an open fire station down the street, seeing is believing. "Definitely, we like to see that back and open as soon as possible," said Doll.
A Capital Improvement Plan hopes to construct a new fire building on the site of station number three by 2040 The city's 11th fire station hopes to be completed further north on Hubbell and 42nd Street, by the spring of 2021.