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Three Rivers breaks ground on new fire station


With the site all prepped, the contract to construct a new fire station in the community of Three Rivers will go to bid on Wednesday.

Last May, voters approved a $660,000 bond to build Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue a new fire station on a 3.2-acre parcel next to the private neighborhood’s entrance and community building.

Fire Chief Don Colfels said Monday the new station is badly needed to store the district’s eight fire engines.

Right now, the station, located about three miles into the community, can only house three of the smaller trucks. Colfels said that means fire crews must drain the trucks in the winter and fill the pumps with anti-freeze.

The problems come when the fire district has to use the trucks before frost season is over.

“Lately, we’ve been having fire in April,” Colfels said. “We end up having to put our fire trucks into service early, and we end up breaking valves and busting pumps.”

Colfels said keeping the trucks outside also forces the district to pay more for insurance.

The new fire station will feature a 7,000-square-foot garage, big enough to store all the trucks indoors and keep them in use year-round.

Another 2,000-square-foot building will serve as an office, training quarters and living area for firefighters.

Like the community itself, the station will be entirely off the grid and use solar panels to power the facilities.

Colfels said construction is slated to begin in May and the station should open by July.

Three Rivers, near Lake Billy Chinook, is home to about 250 residents year-round. However, the community’s number swells to about 5,000 during the summer tourist season. The biggest threat in the dry and brushy area is wildfires. In 2002, the Eyerly Fire destroyed 18 homes in the area.

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