Fire station location to be studied

Station may move based on reevaluation

CHAMPAIGN -- The fire department is studying whether one of their stations should be moved.

Fire Station 3 has been on west Bradley avenue for half a century. The chief says that might not be the best place for it anymore.

He says the garage was designed for fire trucks as they were 50 years ago. Today's engines are a lot bigger, and the department had to build a new section on to the back of the garage just to fit one in. The crew there say they're one of the busiest-- if not the busiest-- engine company in the city.

"When you build a new fire station, you have to think about the future," says fire chief Gary Ludwig.

He says station three is stuck in the past. The crew says it's easier to work with the truck outside, because when it's in, they have no room to work out.

"We don't know what the future holds," says Ludwig, "We may have to put a ladder in that location. We may have to house an ambulance in that location."

While they're at it, the department is hiring a consultant to figure out where the station ought to go now. They'll do that by analyzing five years' worth of service calls.

Sounds logical.

Unless you live close to the station.

"A lot of elderly live around here and need their help," says Jamie Adams.

She's the caretaker for Beverley Weisman, who lives so close to station 3, she says there have been times they haven't needed to call.

"A few years ago we had a granddaughter that stopped breathing, and we took off and run to the fire department, rather than call 9-1-1," says Weisman, who adds a personal story: "I fell about 4-5 times, that they've come over and picked me up off the floor."

"I love it," says Adams, "We've needed them here before, they were here very quickly."

Chief Ludwig says right now, they're looking at four places station three could go. One of those is on Neil street, just south of I-74.Which could be a popular idea in the Edgebrook drive neighborhood.

"I would like it, I'd feel a little safer," says Paula Jackson, who lives there. "It would be right there, and if anything happens, they'd be there right away."

Station 3 could also end up on an undeveloped lot about four miles away on the north side of town, at the corner of Olympian drive and Boardwalk.

Or in Bristol Place.

Or it might stay put.

Or none of the above.

Ludwig says that's up to the consultant they hire.

"Where we can achieve optimal 4-minute response times from certain locations in the city, in order to determine the best location for a fire station," he says.

 

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