Sourdough Fire Department holds annual breakfast, asks for support


Sourdough Fire Department holds annual breakfast, asks for support 10/13/12

BOZEMAN, Mont. - You could smell the hotcakes and ham as the line outside Sourdough Fire Department grew with folks gathering for their annual pancake breakfast.
This year's event was about more than fire truck rides and hands only CPR training.

"We're asking the public to provide funding, through a bond issue, for a new station," says Sourdough Rural Fire District Trustee Don Bachman.

The current station consists of two, small garages.  They're over 40 years old and don't meet safety requirements.

Plus, officials say there's not enough room to house equipment or volunteers, all but two of whom are MSU students or young folks who don't live nearby.

"The accommodations for volunteer firefighters are virtually non-existent.  We have, in that building there, we have an upstairs bedroom that doesn't meet living requirement code- the ceiling is low, the stairs are steep," explains Bachman.

That's why they teamed up with the MSU School of Architecture to come up with plans for a new facility- one building with four equipment and engine bays and dorms for residents.

"We're trying to propose a station that not only takes care of our needs...to house our equipment, give us a place to train, give us a place for a community room, CPR, offices, what not, but also gives us a second story that has approximately eight dorm rooms in it that will offer a place for resident firefighters to live in," says Sourdough Fire Chief J.D. Engle.

Officials say the new building would be more efficient.  More importantly, they say it would help them cut response times by between 12 and 18 minutes.

The $2.9 million bond would last up to 15 years and would be used to build a new station on property next the current one, part of which they purchased from the Bozeman School District.

The extra land allows the other buildings to be used until it the project is complete.

We talked to some folks who say they like the look of the new plans.

"I was really impressed at how much they thought about Bozeman and the actual space here and Montana.  So, they incorporated both the exposure to the sun for the environmental factors but it also looked like they were considering the community as well," says pancake breakfast attendee Charity MacDowell.

District resident Kris Kirkland agrees.

"I thought the plans looked really interesting and quite good, to say the least.  I like the solar aspect of it and some other things and I realize it's really important to have a good fire department...especially when you have volunteer people.  They need to have some advantages to make sure they're there all the time," says Kirkland.

Fire officials say it's important that folks take responsibility for their fire protection and say they're asking for the district's support.

Kirkland says, they have his.

"I always had a little misconception that the amount of taxes was going to raise it 62% of your total taxes and it's really only 62% of what we already pay for fire so, that's not so bad," says Kirkland.      

The district turned down two previous designs for a new station.  

If the bond passes, construction will begin in 2013.
If you live in the district and want to know how much you would pay, visit Sourdough Fire Department's website.

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