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Cyrus Fire Department fundraising for new fire hall

The Cyrus Fire Department is looking for support to building addition to their existing fire hall. When all six of the department’s vehicles are parked, several are blocked by other vehicles, slowing the department’s response time. (Kim Ukura/Sun Tribune)

CYRUS – Over the last several years, the 22 members of Cyrus’ volunteer fire department have worked hard to upgrade their vehicles and personal equipment to meet current standards and provide effective service to their fire district.

Now, the current fire hall – a former machinery dealership retrofitted to serve the needs of a small town fire department – needs an upgrade to keep the department moving forward.

“With the small town that we’ve got and the small tax base, we do have a lot of good equipment and we’re pretty good to respond. Our detriment right now, what’s holding us back, is the building,” said Assistant Chief Jeff Anderson.

To address some of the safety and operational limitations of the building, the department is looking for community support for a $225,000 addition that will provide more space for trucks and equipment, as well as office space for the city of Cyrus.

One of the biggest challenges of the existing fire hall is getting all six of the department’s vehicles in and out. First, all the grass fire rigs and smaller fire trucks are backed into the fire hall. Then a single pumper truck is placed near the garage entrance. When the department is called to a grass fire, for example, the pumper truck needs to be moved out of the way.

More than once, the pumper truck in front of the garage door has failed start and needed to be towed out of the fire hall before the other vehicles can be deployed, said department Secretary Bob Tirevold.

The tightly-placed trucks also create safety issues for the firemen when they respond to calls. When in a hurry, there’s a possibility for running into open doors or tripping over electrical cords, slowing down the deployment.

“It’s a terrible safety hazard,” said Anderson. “If you look between the trucks, we barely have space to get through. … It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

To address these deployment concerns, the addition will have four garage doors to line up vehicles behind. Some of the grass rigs may be stacked up, but in general the arrangement will help with a fast, rapid response, Tirevold said.

Adding more space will also help the department better care for their vehicles by providing space indoors to do repairs and clean vehicles after they’ve been deployed, Tirevold said.

Although the department looked at other locations around town that may have been suitable for an entirely new building, in the end they felt that adding on to their existing space was the more efficient solution.

“We can fit here with this design, and this will work for us,” said Tirevold. “We’re trying to things as economically we can for the little town of Cyrus.”

In addition to better serving the fire department, the building proposal will also offer better office space for the city of Cyrus. The city offices are planned for the south end of the building along Cyrus’ main street.

Once the addition is finished, the department plans to look at retrofitting their existing building to create space for department training, community meetings, equipment repair or even space for the Cyrus First Responders, Anderson said.

The department is hold a fish fry fundraiser for the project on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the existing fire hall.

Organizers are also working with local grain elevators New Horizons-Harvest States, IFAS, and Prairie Lakes Coop for a Harvest Grain Drive to help pay for the project. Farmers can make a tax deductible donation of part of their corn, beans or wheat to help pay for the project.

If fundraising goes well, they hope to start work on the addition next spring.