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La Crosse Fire Department updating its facilities through various projects

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 5:23 PM CST
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - The La Crosse Fire Department is working on updating its stations, starting with one that was built in 1967.

Fire Station #1, located at 726 5th Ave. S, is undergoing a remodeling project to create a more equitable working environment for all firefighters who use the facility.

“For years, this was built to be a place for all white males to work, and obviously we’ve changed very much over the years,” Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Murphy said. “Due to that, our facilities need to change as well.”

More than $431,000 is being used to build 12 individual bunkrooms, along with several private shower and locker rooms to accommodate the growing number of females that are joining the department.

“Ultimately, we want everyone that works here to feel like they’re being treated equally, and that the facilities reflect that,” Murphy added.

The remodel has been in the works for the last decade, but Murphy says it was prioritized by Mayor Mitch Reynolds when he took office earlier this year.

An additional $14,000 of work was added to the project by the Board of Public Works on Monday, but it’s still expected to be completed by the end of January.

Once work on Fire Station #1 is complete, the department’s attention will turn to other aging facilities in the city.

“The replacement of Fire Station #2 is still moving forward, and hopefully we’ll be starting actual construction in the spring,” Murphy detailed. “Funding has been approved for that project, and we’re seeking funding for the Station #4 project at this time, as well.”

Murphy adds the department needs to accommodate for larger equipment, as well as update the system that alerts firefighters about calls for service.

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