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Grand Forks' newest fire station poised to begin serving south end

When Kelsey Weymier takes her first official shift as a firefighter at 8 a.m. on Sunday, she'll hit the job on the first official day of operation at Grand Forks' newest fire station.

Fire Station No. 5 in Grand Forks
The new Fire Station No. 5 in Grand Forks, ND on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. The fire station will begin full operation on Sunday. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)

When Kelsey Weymier takes her first official shift as a firefighter at 8 a.m. on Sunday, she'll hit the job on the first official day of operation at Grand Forks' newest fire station. "It's crazy. It's really fancy for me," Weymier said of the station, which has been under construction since early last year at 1002 47th Ave. S. She has always wanted to be a firefighter, she said, adding it runs in the family-she's following her father into the profession. Asked what her role will be, she said it's simple. "You just listen to everything your captain tells you," she said with a laugh. "Follow every order."
The place where she'll make her start Sunday is a marquee addition to Grand Forks' fire protection network. Touted as a way to serve the expanding southern reaches of the city, fire officials say it gives them an important base of operations. "Our response times really lacked in the very southeast coordinates of the city," said Mike Sandry, a battalion chief with the Grand Forks Fire Department. "We'd like to have a normal response time of four to five minutes, and we were getting out to seven, eight, nine minutes. ... There might be times when we don't hit that four minutes, depending on traffic and things like that, but that's our goal." On Wednesday, fire crews were busy getting ready for the station's public open house, scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday. Bands of firefighters carried in boxes holding gym equipment and blinds while others pushed a broom around the lounge and kitchen area, tidying up ahead of the public's arrival. "We're going to do a flag ceremony where we raise the inaugural flag," Sandry said. "The chief is going to say a few words, the mayor is going to say a few words and then we'll do a ribbon cutting in the front here, and we're going to drive an engine in as the ceremonial first apparatus in the bay." Twelve firefighters will man the station. Growing with demand The station's opening coincides roughly with the first official day for 12 firefighters with the department. They've been training since Jan. 4, Sandry said, and they're set for a private graduation ceremony Thursday evening at the Alerus Center. Their shifts' start dates are set for various times early next week. Weymier and Jordan Osmundson are just two of them. Weymier is slated to work her first day at the new station, and Osmundson is set to work at a station at 1124 DeMers Ave. "I've wanted to be (a firefighter) for as long as I can remember," he said. "It's finally here." Grand Forks Fire Chief Peter O'Neill said the hires are an even bigger development than the station, especially for many of the veterans with the department. He told the Herald in August that in 1972-the last time the department expanded its personnel-the Fire Department responded to 300 calls. In 2014, it responded to roughly 4,400. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2411842","attributes":{"alt":"Kevin Carpenter cleans the bay windows at Fire Station 5 in Grand Forks, ND on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (Joshua Komer/ GFH)","class":"media-image","height":"1333","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"2000"}}]] "This is the first increase in staff for 44 years," he said Wednesday. "Everybody always talks about city departments growing-we have not grown in 44 years. That's why, for us, this is a huge step. We can provide a much better product for the citizens." The full cost of the project includes $2.3 million for the station, O'Neill said, plus another roughly $500,000 for the purchase of the land. Another $500,000 was spent on a fire truck and equipment, and the cost of personnel-which includes not just 12 salary and benefit packages, but also compensation changes for related promotions-will cost $1 million per year. O'Neill added the full cost of the project was paid for with city funds and that no special assessment levies are planned for nearby areas. City Council member Dana Sande, who represents Ward 6, which includes portions of the south end, said the new station is a big achievement, praising O'Neill and other city leaders for managing resources well to complete the project. "It's a great asset for the southeast part of Grand Forks," he said.When Kelsey Weymier takes her first official shift as a firefighter at 8 a.m. on Sunday, she'll hit the job on the first official day of operation at Grand Forks' newest fire station. "It's crazy. It's really fancy for me," Weymier said of the station, which has been under construction since early last year at 1002 47th Ave. S. She has always wanted to be a firefighter, she said, adding it runs in the family-she's following her father into the profession. Asked what her role will be, she said it's simple. "You just listen to everything your captain tells you," she said with a laugh. "Follow every order." [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2411841","attributes":{"alt":"Firefighters Jordan Osundson, left, and Kelsey Weymier work together to build new workout equipment at Fire Station No. 5","class":"media-image","height":"354","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The place where she'll make her start Sunday is a marquee addition to Grand Forks' fire protection network. Touted as a way to serve the expanding southern reaches of the city, fire officials say it gives them an important base of operations. "Our response times really lacked in the very southeast coordinates of the city," said Mike Sandry, a battalion chief with the Grand Forks Fire Department. "We'd like to have a normal response time of four to five minutes, and we were getting out to seven, eight, nine minutes. ... There might be times when we don't hit that four minutes, depending on traffic and things like that, but that's our goal." On Wednesday, fire crews were busy getting ready for the station's public open house, scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday. Bands of firefighters carried in boxes holding gym equipment and blinds while others pushed a broom around the lounge and kitchen area, tidying up ahead of the public's arrival. "We're going to do a flag ceremony where we raise the inaugural flag," Sandry said. "The chief is going to say a few words, the mayor is going to say a few words and then we'll do a ribbon cutting in the front here, and we're going to drive an engine in as the ceremonial first apparatus in the bay." Twelve firefighters will man the station. Growing with demand The station's opening coincides roughly with the first official day for 12 firefighters with the department. They've been training since Jan. 4, Sandry said, and they're set for a private graduation ceremony Thursday evening at the Alerus Center. Their shifts' start dates are set for various times early next week. Weymier and Jordan Osmundson are just two of them. Weymier is slated to work her first day at the new station, and Osmundson is set to work at a station at 1124 DeMers Ave. "I've wanted to be (a firefighter) for as long as I can remember," he said. "It's finally here." Grand Forks Fire Chief Peter O'Neill said the hires are an even bigger development than the station, especially for many of the veterans with the department. He told the Herald in August that in 1972-the last time the department expanded its personnel-the Fire Department responded to 300 calls. In 2014, it responded to roughly 4,400.
"This is the first increase in staff for 44 years," he said Wednesday. "Everybody always talks about city departments growing-we have not grown in 44 years. That's why, for us, this is a huge step. We can provide a much better product for the citizens." The full cost of the project includes $2.3 million for the station, O'Neill said, plus another roughly $500,000 for the purchase of the land. Another $500,000 was spent on a fire truck and equipment, and the cost of personnel-which includes not just 12 salary and benefit packages, but also compensation changes for related promotions-will cost $1 million per year. O'Neill added the full cost of the project was paid for with city funds and that no special assessment levies are planned for nearby areas. City Council member Dana Sande, who represents Ward 6, which includes portions of the south end, said the new station is a big achievement, praising O'Neill and other city leaders for managing resources well to complete the project. "It's a great asset for the southeast part of Grand Forks," he said.When Kelsey Weymier takes her first official shift as a firefighter at 8 a.m. on Sunday, she'll hit the job on the first official day of operation at Grand Forks' newest fire station."It's crazy. It's really fancy for me," Weymier said of the station, which has been under construction since early last year at 1002 47th Ave. S.She has always wanted to be a firefighter, she said, adding it runs in the family-she's following her father into the profession.Asked what her role will be, she said it's simple."You just listen to everything your captain tells you," she said with a laugh. "Follow every order."
The place where she'll make her start Sunday is a marquee addition to Grand Forks' fire protection network. Touted as a way to serve the expanding southern reaches of the city, fire officials say it gives them an important base of operations."Our response times really lacked in the very southeast coordinates of the city," said Mike Sandry, a battalion chief with the Grand Forks Fire Department. "We'd like to have a normal response time of four to five minutes, and we were getting out to seven, eight, nine minutes. ... There might be times when we don't hit that four minutes, depending on traffic and things like that, but that's our goal."On Wednesday, fire crews were busy getting ready for the station's public open house, scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday. Bands of firefighters carried in boxes holding gym equipment and blinds while others pushed a broom around the lounge and kitchen area, tidying up ahead of the public's arrival."We're going to do a flag ceremony where we raise the inaugural flag," Sandry said. "The chief is going to say a few words, the mayor is going to say a few words and then we'll do a ribbon cutting in the front here, and we're going to drive an engine in as the ceremonial first apparatus in the bay."Twelve firefighters will man the station.Growing with demandThe station's opening coincides roughly with the first official day for 12 firefighters with the department. They've been training since Jan. 4, Sandry said, and they're set for a private graduation ceremony Thursday evening at the Alerus Center. Their shifts' start dates are set for various times early next week.Weymier and Jordan Osmundson are just two of them. Weymier is slated to work her first day at the new station, and Osmundson is set to work at a station at 1124 DeMers Ave."I've wanted to be (a firefighter) for as long as I can remember," he said. "It's finally here."Grand Forks Fire Chief Peter O'Neill said the hires are an even bigger development than the station, especially for many of the veterans with the department. He told the Herald in August that in 1972-the last time the department expanded its personnel-the Fire Department responded to 300 calls. In 2014, it responded to roughly 4,400.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2411842","attributes":{"alt":"Kevin Carpenter cleans the bay windows at Fire Station 5 in Grand Forks, ND on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (Joshua Komer/ GFH)","class":"media-image","height":"1333","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"2000"}}]]"This is the first increase in staff for 44 years," he said Wednesday. "Everybody always talks about city departments growing-we have not grown in 44 years. That's why, for us, this is a huge step. We can provide a much better product for the citizens."The full cost of the project includes $2.3 million for the station, O'Neill said, plus another roughly $500,000 for the purchase of the land. Another $500,000 was spent on a fire truck and equipment, and the cost of personnel-which includes not just 12 salary and benefit packages, but also compensation changes for related promotions-will cost $1 million per year.O'Neill added the full cost of the project was paid for with city funds and that no special assessment levies are planned for nearby areas.City Council member Dana Sande, who represents Ward 6, which includes portions of the south end, said the new station is a big achievement, praising O'Neill and other city leaders for managing resources well to complete the project."It's a great asset for the southeast part of Grand Forks," he said.When Kelsey Weymier takes her first official shift as a firefighter at 8 a.m. on Sunday, she'll hit the job on the first official day of operation at Grand Forks' newest fire station."It's crazy. It's really fancy for me," Weymier said of the station, which has been under construction since early last year at 1002 47th Ave. S.She has always wanted to be a firefighter, she said, adding it runs in the family-she's following her father into the profession.Asked what her role will be, she said it's simple."You just listen to everything your captain tells you," she said with a laugh. "Follow every order."[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2411841","attributes":{"alt":"Firefighters Jordan Osundson, left, and Kelsey Weymier work together to build new workout equipment at Fire Station No. 5","class":"media-image","height":"354","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]The place where she'll make her start Sunday is a marquee addition to Grand Forks' fire protection network. Touted as a way to serve the expanding southern reaches of the city, fire officials say it gives them an important base of operations."Our response times really lacked in the very southeast coordinates of the city," said Mike Sandry, a battalion chief with the Grand Forks Fire Department. "We'd like to have a normal response time of four to five minutes, and we were getting out to seven, eight, nine minutes. ... There might be times when we don't hit that four minutes, depending on traffic and things like that, but that's our goal."On Wednesday, fire crews were busy getting ready for the station's public open house, scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday. Bands of firefighters carried in boxes holding gym equipment and blinds while others pushed a broom around the lounge and kitchen area, tidying up ahead of the public's arrival."We're going to do a flag ceremony where we raise the inaugural flag," Sandry said. "The chief is going to say a few words, the mayor is going to say a few words and then we'll do a ribbon cutting in the front here, and we're going to drive an engine in as the ceremonial first apparatus in the bay."Twelve firefighters will man the station.Growing with demandThe station's opening coincides roughly with the first official day for 12 firefighters with the department. They've been training since Jan. 4, Sandry said, and they're set for a private graduation ceremony Thursday evening at the Alerus Center. Their shifts' start dates are set for various times early next week.Weymier and Jordan Osmundson are just two of them. Weymier is slated to work her first day at the new station, and Osmundson is set to work at a station at 1124 DeMers Ave."I've wanted to be (a firefighter) for as long as I can remember," he said. "It's finally here."Grand Forks Fire Chief Peter O'Neill said the hires are an even bigger development than the station, especially for many of the veterans with the department. He told the Herald in August that in 1972-the last time the department expanded its personnel-the Fire Department responded to 300 calls. In 2014, it responded to roughly 4,400.
"This is the first increase in staff for 44 years," he said Wednesday. "Everybody always talks about city departments growing-we have not grown in 44 years. That's why, for us, this is a huge step. We can provide a much better product for the citizens."The full cost of the project includes $2.3 million for the station, O'Neill said, plus another roughly $500,000 for the purchase of the land. Another $500,000 was spent on a fire truck and equipment, and the cost of personnel-which includes not just 12 salary and benefit packages, but also compensation changes for related promotions-will cost $1 million per year.O'Neill added the full cost of the project was paid for with city funds and that no special assessment levies are planned for nearby areas.City Council member Dana Sande, who represents Ward 6, which includes portions of the south end, said the new station is a big achievement, praising O'Neill and other city leaders for managing resources well to complete the project."It's a great asset for the southeast part of Grand Forks," he said.

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS FIRE DEPARTMENT
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