PEORIA (WEEK) — A badly needed upgrade to to the Peoria Air National guard’s fire station is here, and officials say it will save lives.
Officials hosted a ribbon cutting Tuesday for the nearly $8 million facility, which was paid for with federal taxpayer dollars.
“We do have adequate space,” National Guard Fire Chief Clifford Otto said. “It’s safer for firefighters, and we’re able to house all of our assets together in one place.”
The fire station at Peoria’s 182nd Airlift Wing responds to calls at the National Guard base, Peoria International Airport as well as helps out other neighboring fire departments. Peoria Airport Director Gene Olson says the new station will help improve response times.
“Probably several times a week, they’re rolling for a civilian issue,” Olson said. “They’re medical runs or passengers that are injured or ill, and just shaving seconds off of that can be life-saving.”
The new fire station replaces one built decades ago. It didn’t have sleeping bunks and only had one bathroom. The new station includes plenty more space for trucks and equipment, a new locker room, new bathrooms, a new workout room and a new kitchen.
“The restrictions that were on the firefighters day in and day out for a 24-7 operation needed to be addressed,” Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL 17) said.
Bustos worked with fellow Representative Darin LaHood (R-IL 18) to secure funding for this project in 2018. Both say bipartisanship was key to making the project happen.
“Congresswoman Bustos and I over the last four years collaborated,” LaHood said. “We had to work when President Trump was in and now President Biden to get it done, but this is the result.”
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