The newest fire station for the Isanti Fire District is standing tall in
the southeast corner of Isanti County, thanks to donations raised from
the annual Isanti Firefighters Rodeos.
The newest fire station for the Isanti Fire District is standing tall in the southeast corner of Isanti County, thanks to donations raised from the annual Isanti Firefighters Rodeos.
Recently, the Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association donated another $20,000 in proceeds to Fire Station No. 3, located at the corner of Co. Rd. 9 and Co. Rd. 45 in Athens Township. This came after the Rodeo Association donated $125,000 for the land purchase for the station, along with $1,800 in legal fees for the project.
“The station is about 99 percent complete with the first stage, with just a couple pieces of siding on one dormer to go up. We can move trucks in here in two or three days,” explained First Assistant Chief Al Jankovich during a tour of the new station last week. “You look outside and you can see the dirt work that needs to be spread in the spring, along with laying down gravel for the driveways. Then we are completed until we raise more money to carry on the next phases of this station.”
The latest donation will help cover the insulation costs of Station No. 3 which has a high ceiling in the large truck bay. Office areas are blocked out, but those won’t be completed until the next phase of work gets started.
A cost-saving element added to the station is a rescue bay where a standard-sized response truck will be housed for IFD members to respond to medical calls.
“66 percent of our calls are medical calls, so opening just the small garage door for the rescue truck will keep heat in the building more efficiently,” added Jankovich. “We have trucks to put in here now that we can pull from our other two stations. But we are looking at upgrading our equipment down the line.”
On the second floor is a huge conference room area. Jankovich explained this is the largest training area in any of IFD’s buildings. He is hoping cross-training with neighboring fire departments can also take place there to further help synchronize the responders’ abilities when arriving at emergency scenes.
A geothermal heating system was installed in Station No. 3’s floors for further cost-saving benefits. A high-volume well will be employed to fill the trucks quickly.
Station No. 2, located in Spencer Brook Township, branched IFD into the southwest corner of the county several years ago.
Now with Station No. 3 soon ready for operation, the department offers quicker responses to fires and other emergencies.
Pictured: Assistant Chief Al Jankovich (left) recently accepted a $20,000 donation from IFD Rodeo Chairman Tom Pagel for the latest updates at Station No. 3. Photo by Greg Hunt
“We’re saturating our coverage area completely with this latest station,” said Jankovich. “We just had two new members come on the fire department Jan. 1, and they will respond to this station. We are in conservation with Linwood Fire Department which butts up to our edge on the southeast, and they have firefighters who are interested in responding out of this station, as well as their home station. And that’s pretty sweet because they are already turnkey trained with experience.”
“Our goal is to better serve the homeowners in our fire district, and we’re having our ISO rating reassessed this summer. So when Station No. 3 is up and running, homes can then have their insurance rates adjusted accordingly,” he continued.
Rodeos paying off
The Isanti Rodeos are annually one of the largest entertainment draws for the county, providing a great summer stretch of fun in conjunction with Isanti Rodeo Jubilee Days. All the hard work pulling off rodeos are paid off with the money going to improve the Isanti Fire Department’s capabilities.
“This will be our 35th annual Isanti Firefighters Rodeo this year which will run July 8-9. I think we’ve donated over $1 million to the Isanti Fire Department over the years,” said IFD Rodeo Chairman Tom Pagel.
“Before we first started the rodeo, we were in the old fire station behind the bank. Our fundraiser at that time was just turkey bingo where we would borrow cement blocks and lumber from Sylvester Lumber for our tables. That was our fundraiser,” recalled Pagel. “Now after all the years, to see the improvement in training and equipment– and adding a new station like this No. 3 project– you can see how far we’ve come.”
Looking out the windows on the third floor of Station No. 3, there are vast acres of countryside in the view. But there is high potential for future growth in that sector of Isanti County.
“Co. Rd. 9 is expected to be a busier cut-across from I-35 to Hwy. 65 since the new (Chisago) Co. Rd 17 on-ramp has been built on I-35,” said Jankovich. “With the possible light rail and the possible City of Athens, this is projected to be a booming area. And now we’re ahead of the game by already improving fire protection in this area with Station No. 3.”
“A lot of people moving into this area are coming out of metropolitan areas who are used to dialing 911 and getting immediate service,” added Pagel. “Just looking at the recent shooting in Tucson (Ariz), that ‘Golden Hour’ of response is universal for responders.”
For updates on Station No. 3 and this year’s Isanti Firefighters Rodeo, go to www.isantifiredistrict.org.