Posted at: 03/05/2013 10:59 PM
Updated at: 03/05/2013 11:00 PM
By: Dayna Landgrebe
Changes started in June 2012 with the closing of Park Point's one-man fire hall. The Park Point closure was part of a department-wide elimination of 30 percent of its fire rigs, based on a third party study to make the department more cost-effective and safer. Fewer rigs means more firefighters will be covering each one.
On Tuesday night, the department held a community meeting in Duluth to discuss new changes to possibly consolidate stations at UMD and in the Woodland neighborhood. The plan would include the construction of a new hall, possibly in the Snively neighborhood.
Fire Chief John Strongitharm said the department favors that plan for several reasons.
"We like the Snively station area because it's at the major arteries, so we'd have a quick east and west and north and south run. And it's a balance between UMD and Woodland so the response times would be quick in both spots."
But Strongitharm said this plan is still in its very early stages, and there are still community questions.
"There's concern. There's concern about people who live near the station. There's concern about losing a station. There's concerns about not knowing specifics. We're very early on in the process," Strongitharm said.
Strongitharm said the department's next task is to review Tuesday night's comments, looking for any viable alternatives or solutions.