The oldest firehouse in Idaho Falls is causing concern for local firefighters.
Fire Chief, Dean Ellis, says the concrete floor in Fire Station No. 1 on Shoupe Avenue is slowly eroding, and fire engines can’t be housed there anymore.
It’s bad enough that the station’s fire engines can’t be inside or firefighters fear the floor will give in, and the trucks will go through to the basement.
‘It’s a concern. We’re concerned about it,” said Ellis.
“It was built in 1930, so consequently the trucks were a lot lighter back then,” said Ellis. “They didn’t have to worry about what was on top of it or it going through the basement floor.”
The erosion is so bad, only ambulances are being allowed inside the garage. The 30,000 pound fire engines have to stay outside during the day, with the engine running so they don’t freeze.
“The water that has run into the pipes and into the water pump can freeze,” said Ellis. “Gauges can freeze. That’s the big concern. If your pump freezes, you’re inoperable because you can’t pump water.”
Which means firefighters can’t respond. At night, engines are kept in the surrounding stations, which affects response time.
“In the evening when we’re out at the other fire stations, our response time is going to be a little longer to the downtown area,” said Ellis. “It’ll probably add about two or three minutes to the response time once we get the alarm.”
Ellis said there are a few options. The City of Idaho Falls can temporarily repair the concrete, remodel an existing building the city owns and turn it into a firehouse, or build a completely new firehouse.
That’s up to the City Council, but Ellis said they need a solution quick.
Fire Station No. 1 is the first to respond to all fire alarms in the downtown area, which is considered a high-value district.