Iowa City's northeast side gets new fire station - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City's northeast side gets new fire station

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For nearly 30 years, some in Iowa City have been pushing for a new fire station on the city's northeast side.  But paying for a new fire house was never possible until two years ago.  In 2009, the city received state I-JOBS money to fund the project. 

With the ribbon cut, Iowa City fire station four is officially dedicated for service.  But it's already been operating for about a month, getting the first page just minutes after it opened.

"Four minutes after seven o'clock October 3, we ran our first call and it was like, 'Yeah.  We're up here, and we're doing business,'" said Iowa City Fire Chief Andy Rocca.

The northeast region of Iowa City currently gets 400 calls for fire and EMS service each year, a number that's expected to keep growing.  By being closer to where those calls come from, the city's been able to cut its response time in half, which is crucial during emergencies.

"Obviously, the longer a fire's unattended, it's going to continue to grow.  So having crews up here, providing four to six minute response time is just great for the community," Chief Rocca said.

Nine firefighting positions were added to staff station four.  Seeing the new facility finally become reality is a thrill for Lt. Zach Hickman.

"I was actually hired back in 2001 to staff fire station four.  The city had plans for it to be built in '01, then 9/11 happened and the economy kind of went down  hill.  So it got put on the back burner, Hickman said.  "So 10 years later, my 10th anniversary on the department, I actually got assigned here and it's been exciting."

That's because he and fellow firefighters are not only working from a new building, they've also got some new gear and a new fire engine.  And they look forward to seeing how their new home helps spur more development in the already growing area.

The new fire station cost more than $3 million to build and was mostly paid for with I-JOBS money.  Statewide, 2100 projects were funded by I-JOBS, a program created under former Governor Chet Culver to help spur flood and economic recovery during the recession.

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