North Liberty Fire Department says it's "at capacity" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

North Liberty Fire Department says it's "at capacity"

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The North Liberty Fire Department has run out of space, making it difficult to grow with the town.

"We're at capacity. We have, right now, we actually have more apparatus than bays and we just do our best to tuck things in here the best that we can," Interim Fire Chief, Bill Schmooke, said.

The department's ladder truck is due a replacement come 2019. Now is when the building process is supposed to begin but they've run into a problem.

"This next truck doesn't look like it would fit in our current building," Schmooke said.

The size of the needed replacement truck is non-negotiable.

"Really, it boils down to having a longer ladder. So, the ladder functions as two things, really, as a rescue ladder and secondly, as sort of an aerial platform to be able to spray water when the fire is really large," he said.

A longer laddered truck needed due to the growth the town has been experiencing, not just growth outwards but in it's height.

"We have larger buildings coming to town and we try and spec our trucks out not for our current conditions but for where the community is going and so, that's why we would need a larger truck," Schmooke said.

Until the department can find a space for the truck, the replacement will be put on hold. Schmooke said conversation with the city needs to continue with what options they have whether that be to expand their current facility or build another department in town.

He says data would be needed to determine where the most calls come from if it's to be decided to build another department, something he's in favor for.

"Those conversations are going to need to start happening sooner than later," he said.

Schmooke said a new fire chief would likely be hired in July and it would be up to them to pick up the torch to keep conversation the conversation going. He said the city has been supportive in preliminary conversations but that there's only so much tax dollars available.

Currently, across the street the North Liberty Police Department is facing a similar situation having outgrown their space, as well.

They're in the process of working with the city to build a new department.

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