Firefighters look to rebuild hallA small northwestern Wisconsin town that was headquarters during a May wildfire is rebuilding its fire hall after it was destroyed by fire last month.
By: Brad Phenow/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A small northwestern Wisconsin town that was headquarters during a May wildfire is rebuilding its fire hall after it was destroyed by fire last month.
The Gordon Volunteer Fire Department in Douglas County is back in action, using donated fire trucks and equipment, but the 15 volunteer firefighters are missing a large piece of their puzzle, a fire hall.
The blaze completely destroyed the fire hall, six trucks, and all of the personal protective equipment inside. Douglas County Emergency Management Director Keith Kesler said the support from surrounding communities has been overwhelming.
“As emergency management, we were pleased with how people stepped up with donations in the first 24 hours, and within 48 hours for the fire department to be back in business,” Kesler said in an email statement.
State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, says the insurance company is still evaluating the coverage.
“It is expected there will be a sizable difference between what the insurance will cover, which will be substantial, and the need to raise additional funds in order to make sure they can replace all of the lost equipment and rebuild the facility,” he said.
Jauch says no matter what the gap is, there is no doubt the department will be able to raise the funds needed. He says surrounding communities and the state came together to make sure the public is protected.
“Very, very quickly other departments pitched in, and trucks were made available. In the meantime other fire departments covered Gordon, but they’ve got the sufficient equipment at this time,” Jauch said. “They’ve got one heck of an excellent volunteer fire department: I think it’s one of the best in the state.”
The fire department has received loaner trucks from Grantsburg and the town of Jackson along with equipment from departments statewide. Jauch hopes that a year from now, Gordon will have a brand new facility.
Gordon has scheduled a town meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the town hall to grant authority to the town board to rebuild the fire hall. Jauch says they should have the financial calculations done for the town meeting, and the beginning stages of planning should be on the agenda.
Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard locally on 91.3 KUWS-FM and online at www.wpr.org.