FEMA report urges moving fire station from flood plain - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

FEMA report urges moving fire station from flood plain

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Flood waters have knocked at the doors of an eastern Iowa fire department one too many times. Now, FEMA says that department should move.

A FEMA flood report suggests the city of Vinton should tear down their fire department and move it out of the flood plain. A move which could cost more than $6 million.

Two floods have invaded the Vinton fire station that sits right next to the Cedar River and the department is hopeful they won't see another.

"We were involved with the whole thing with sandbagging...unfortunately, the sandbags didn't hold in 2008 and our station flooded," said Charles Garwood, Vinton Assistant Fire Chief. "We had considerable damage at that time, it had to be completely gutted and rebuilt."

Eight years later in 2016 Vinton and the fire station was hit again.

"The hesco barriers did hold the water back, but of course there was seepage coming through from the ground and we had to man pumps 24 hours a day to keep the water out," said Chief Garwood.

FEMA conducted a study to find a way to prevent floods like the ones from 2008 and 2016 from happening again in Vinton.

"This report began in 2015, in the middle of 2016, in the middle of doing the report we had another flood," said Chris Ward, City Administrator. "We just actually got a report and the report is just simply recommendations for the city to consider at this time."

FEMA has come up with two main options for the city, one of those is to move the fire station.

"We are pretty comfortable here, we are okay, but if there's a chance of us flooding again nope," said Chief Garwood. "If there's help for us to move and rebuild a new station I am for it."

FEMA is also suggesting if the city does not want to move the fire station they build a levee system.

"We knew something was going to have to be done and it just kind of confirms if we are going to do something as a community at least we can have a road map so we can get started on what we need to do," said Ward. 

The FEMA report gave the city five different options on where to build the levee, costing anywhere from $5 million to $16 million. For now no decision has been made.

One big question is who would pay for a move. We don't know the answer yet.  To read the full FEMA report CLICK HERE.

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