Cedar Rapids breaks ground on Central Fire Station - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids breaks ground on Central Fire Station


Captain Craig Dirks of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department still finds the magnitude of flooding that took place four years ago hard to believe.

"When we took time to sit back and realize what was going on, it was overwhelming," Dirks said.

On June 12 ,2008,  the day before the Cedar River crested, Dirks had no time to take it all in.

With the command and control center under water limiting available communications, Dirks and other emergency responders took part in more than 400 rescue efforts, working virtually 48 hours straight to get people out of harm's way.

"We just tried to get everyone to calmly get in the boats, and get everyone to safety," Dirks said.

Rescue crews succeeded.  No lives were lost in the record flooding.

For Dirks and the crew housed at the Central Fire Station, their devotion was on full display, putting personal concerns aside as their place of work was inundated with water.

"It's like a second home.  It affected us.  It affected our families," he said.

Wednesday marked four years after the river crested.

It's also the first time the Central Fire crew can look forward to once again being under the same roof. 

City officials broke ground on a 67,000 square foot station, centrally located to help firefighters effectively serve the surrounding area.

"This new building will assure that those expectations from the community will continue to be met for many many years," said Cedar Rapids mayor Ron Corbett.

It's a sign that the city the firefighters have worked so hard to protect is on its way back.

"We've been waiting for this day for a long time," Dirks said.

The overall cost of the project is $20 million.  The projected will be funded by State I-Jobs grant money and federal FEMA funds.

The expected time of completion is summer of 2013.


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