Cambridge's new fire station nearly ready

Sandy Hull
This new building will house the Cambridge Fire Protection District, along with the ambulance service and police department in the near future according to Jeff Hutchinson, president of the district. The L-shaped single-story post-frame, brick and steel-clad building is approximately 15,300 square feet.

    In approximately a month, Jeff Hutchinson, Cambridge Fire Protection District president, hopes the new fire station located off Route 82, just south of Route 81 on the east edge of town, will be open for business.

    The new station was built on an acre of land donated by the Winter family and two acres of land by the Village of Cambridge.

    “We are making progress every day,” Hutchinson stated. “The rainy weather has stopped some of the concrete work, but everything else is coming together as expected. Morton and all of the contractors have been excellent to work with.”

    Hutchinson was also happy to report that the concrete for the driveway was donated by Edwards Ready Mix and since the company donated the concrete, the individuals helping with concrete also donated their time and labor.

    “We had decided to just go with rock for the driveway to save some money when Edwards Ready Mix offered to do it,” Hutchinson said. “We are very thankful for their donation.”

    The L-shaped single-story post-frame, brick and steel-clad building is approximately 15,300 square feet and will house the fire department, ambulance service and the police department.

    On the left side of the building there is a four “high bay” vehicle storage area for the fire department to house their seven fire trucks.

    The firemen will store their equipment in a walk-through area before reaching the vehicle storage area.

    “The firemen themselves have bought and are building a new storage unit to house all of their equipment,” said Hutchinson.

    When walking into the main entrance of the new building, residents will see a community room to the left and a trustee room to the right.

    The community room will be available for public use, along with the kitchen and public restrooms. The kitchen and community room are open to one another.

    The kitchen will be equipped with a dishwasher, stove and refrigerator according to Hutchinson.

    “The current station already had a stove and refrigerator and the firemen bought the dishwasher,” he said. “They are looking for grants to help purchase other needed items.”

    The building will also be used as a warming and cooling center in case of an emergency, according to Hutchinson.

    “We purchased a like new generator and had a transfer switch installed already. The cost of the generator and transfer switch was not included in the cost of the building but it was something very necessary.”

    The ambulance service will have two bays along with a coordinator’s room, a room for necessary medicines, supplies and records.

    “There will be secure offices for confidential reports, employee records and billing,” Hutchinson said. “Something our other building did not allow.”

    The Cambridge police department will also have room in the building for an office and for its vehicle.

    A radio room will be located between the fire department bay and the emergency medical technician’s bay.

    In April of 2009, Cambridge taxpayers voted “yes” on a referendum for $1.5 million in bonds to build and equip a new fire station, ambulance station, police station and community room for the district.

    In May of 2010, the district accepted a bid of $1,486,000 for construction of the building by Morton Buildings, Inc. of Morton with a branch office in Atkinson.

    Ground was finally broke in August of 2010 after waiting for permission from the state to gain access to the land off Route 82.

    The fire district was formed in 1974 and is a volunteer fire and ambulance department. The district serves the needs of approximately 3,500 people and protects all of Cambridge Township and portions of Munson, Osco, Andover, Clover and Burns townships for a total area of 55 square miles.

    In addition to protecting the lives and property of the citizens and businesses in the district, the district also protects the schools in Cambridge, the Henry County Sheriff’s office, the Henry County Courthouse, the Henry County Jail, the Henry County Highway Department, the Henry County Animal Shelter, the Henry County Fairgrounds and Munson Cemetery Prairie Preserve.

    Other critical infrastructure that the department protects includes an interstate natural gas pipeline and substation as well as the telephone company, public and sewer systems for Cambridge.

    The district has five trustees. They are Mike Secymore, Rick Turner, John Roehrs, Jeff Hutchinson and Ned Richardson.

    The district has approximately 28 volunteer firemen and  18 emergency medical technicians.