“We have identified many, many years ago that we had a need for a fifth fire station in the Northwest section of town,” said Fire Chief Kelli Kronschnabel.
After purchasing the land in 2017, the project was put on hold due to the budget. Now, the $3.4 million project is expected to move forward in 2020.
“It’s exciting to talk about building a new station. Of course, it’s always good as a firefighter to be part of a growing department,” said James Dockter, firefighter.
It will be located on 4th avenue northwest. Just East of the Highway 83 bypass. The funding is coming from reserve funds from the city. Once construction is completed, the department will only have to hire three firefighters to fully staff the fifth station.
“How we can do that is because we changed our response model. We don’t have the rescue trucks running medical calls out of station 1 and 2, which have the most medical call of all the stations,” Kronschnabel said. “And with that, we can put them on the engine but that allows us to be able to take two people from station 1 and reassign them to station 5 and one person from station 2.”
Right now, station 2 handles all of the calls in that part of town. Response times can be between 7 and 12 minutes depending on the road conditions.
And those minutes can feel like a lifetime.
“When we’re thinking about patients in cardiac arrest, that response time is really critical. The survival rate is about 10-percent per minute, it goes down for those patients,” said Dockter. “So, by the time we get there, they may only have a 10 to 20-percent survival rate. So it is very important for us to get to those areas as fast as possible.”
Firefighters on the department like Dockter are excited to have another station.
“When you’re thinking about the new lightweight construction that’s being built nowadays, homes are burning hotter and faster, so it is critical for us to get there fast,” Dockter added.
Something else this new station will do is lower homeowner’s insurance rates. Having a faster response time reduces the risk of a total loss.
Building another fire station is a direct response to the growing population in Minot.
In 2010, the population was just over 41,000. In 2017, it was a little under 48,000. City officials expect it to keep getting bigger.
“We have expansion in Northwest Minot. Hundreds and hundreds of additional single-family and rental units up there,” said Derek Hackett, public information officer. “We have expansion all over the city, so we’re still trying to catch up with that.”
The 2020 census will show exactly how much the population has grown in the city over the last decade.