Increase in fires on city’s south side making a new fire station a top priority

More fires have recently broken out on La Crosse’s south side.

The La Crosse fire department is looking at a site for a new station in that area, but was unable to get enough money to start building one.

“I know Mayor (Kabat) and (city) council we’re trying to get it done, but it just wasn’t in the cards,” fire department chief Ken Gilliam said.

But it’s not that they didn’t get any money.

“We were fortunate to secure some of the funding we needed towards a new fire station,” Gilliam said.

The department is thinking about building a new station at the corner of 33rd Street S. and Mormon Coulee Road.

“I think as those plans start to develop, I hope the community can rally around it.,” Gilliam said.

But the department is also looking to replace Fire Station 4 on 906 Gillette St. on the north side. That building is 80 years old and losing its infrastructure.

“I think the structures are in dire need of upgrades and replacement,” Gilliam said. “That’s a lot of capital outlay. We’re hoping to offset that with some private-public partnerships, and talking with some development partners in town to see where it goes.”

Gilliam says new stations will improve ways to clean firefighters’ uniforms.

“Better decontamination back at the brand new fire stations with the proper amount of showers, and decontamination facitilities built into them,” Gilliam said.

But the department will have to wait and see for next year.

“We’ll just kind of keep tredging along and doing what we can with what we’ve got,” Gilliam said.

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