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Minot’s fifth fire station is getting closer to reality.
Fire Chief Kelli Kronschnabel said bids should go out in February for the approximately $3.8 million project. Construction on the station, which will be located near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and 27th Street NW, should start as soon as possible next spring. The plan is to hire personnel for the new station in April or May 2023, with the station opening in August 2023 at the latest.
There’s been years of preparation to get to this point, but there’s also a lot of work left to do.
“It’s like a brand new house that you have to outfit with everything, including your car,” she said. “We are starting with nothing. We have to purchase everything, from the scrub brushes to the beds. It’s like outfitting a four-bedroom house.”
The site of Station 5 was selected for its strategic location. It’s in northwest Minot, and is close to the West 83 Bypass, allowing easy and quick access to the bypass if needed.
“When you get up on North Hill, especially west of the bypass where there are a lot of new apartments and homes, the response times can get a little long,” Kronschnabel said. “This location allows us to get on the bypass really quickly and that will help improve our response times.”
The new station could also help some homeowners and business owners in Minot see a reduction in their insurance rates. The Insurance Services Office creates ratings for fire departments and their communities, with lower ratings bringing potential insurance premium savings. Minot currently has an ISO rating of 2, and officials believe the new fire station could help lower that rating even further.
“We will request an evaluation when the new station opens, just like we did when Fire Station 4 opened and we went from an ISO rating of 3 down to a 2,” the fire chief said. “If we can move to an ISO of 1, that would potentially help many in the community see lower insurance rates.”
Not all insurance companies use the ISO ratings in determining rates; residents can check with their insurance provider for more information.
“The major benefit to the community is that this station will fill a hole where our response times are higher due to the proximity of the other stations,” Kronschnabel said. “I believe there are about 3,200 residents that will be protected to the standard that we expect with the addition of this new station.”
Although construction is still months away, a major component of the new station has already been ordered: The new fire engine, which is expected to take up to 18 months to build and deliver.
“Typically, it would have been between 12 and 14 months, but with the supply chain delays, it’s going to take a little longer so I’m glad we ordered it now,” Kronschnabel said.
Actually, the department ordered two new identical engines: one for the new Station 5 and one to replace the aging engine at Station 4. The engines cost approximately $600,000 apiece.
“The new trucks are kind of like building a custom home. You get to decide where all the compartments go and things like that,” Kronschnabel said. “We’ve done all that, and some of our personnel flew to Florida to meet with the company reps at the factory to make sure everything was in order.”
Besides the truck and all of the equipment it will need, there’s also roughly $71,000 worth of equipment needed to outfit the new station, from radios to beds to kitchen appliances and all the gear worn by firefighters.
Kronschnabel said three new firefighters will be hired and three current firefighters will be promoted to captain to help staff the new facility. Opening a fifth station will also help provide additional fire coverage when crews respond to an incident.
“If we put everyone on a scene like we do today, we don’t have anyone to call if we have another emergency at the same time,” she said. “But when we have five stations, we’ll be able to have the proper amount of people at an incident and still have an engine ready in case of another incident. It gives us options, and that’s a good thing.”