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Lakeland breaks ground on Lakeland Fire Station

Auburn City Councilmember Gene Cerino and Algona City Councilmember Lynda Osborn don firefighter hats before the groundbreaking for the new Valley Regional Fire Authority Lakeland Fire Station 33 on Tuesday. - Gary Kissel/Reporter
Auburn City Councilmember Gene Cerino and Algona City Councilmember Lynda Osborn don firefighter hats before the groundbreaking for the new Valley Regional Fire Authority Lakeland Fire Station 33 on Tuesday.
— image credit: Gary Kissel/Reporter

People in Lakeland Hills, Kersey and Hidden Valley are under served when it comes to fire, rescue and emergency medical services, said Eric Robertson, Valley Regional Fire Authority administrator.

But the VRFA will meet that need late next fall when it opens the Lakeland Fire Station 33 at 500 182nd Ave. E., the fifth station in its service area.

Voters in the three VRFA cities of Auburn, Algona and Pacific approved a $19.8 million general obligation bond to build the 12,791-square-foot, $5.1 million station Feb. 19, part of a larger capital funding projects measure.

Located on 3.5 acres north of the intersection of Lake Tapps Parkway and 182nd Avenue East, the new station also will provide support to areas in the city of Pacific now served by Station 38 and South Auburn Station 32.

Dignitaries from the three cities found their way to a chilly groundbreaking ceremony for the new station atthe wooded site Tuesday afternoon.

Algona Mayor Dave Hill, whose city didn’t even have its own fire department before the advent of the VRFA, noted that calls to the under-served areas sometimes take the closest station to Algona and its personnel out of service for his community. The new station should address that problem, he said.

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis, chairman of the board of governance of the VRFA, praised the decision of voters in the three cities to form the VRFA. He said, the city of Auburn could not have built the new station on it’s own.

“We knew that. If we couldn’t provide for a single, extra firefighter, we could get nowhere near a facility of this nature. It is the support of all of our personnel, all of our cities that has gotten us to this point,” Lewis said.

It had been a long-standing goal of the old Auburn Fire Department to serve the areas, Robertson said, adding that it has been a challenge getting there. But the creation of the VRFA in 2006 provided an opportunity for the agency to take a broader view of how it serves the greater regional community.

“The next time we meet here it will be the opening of the doors of a 12,791-square-foot, state-of-the-art fire station, staffed with the finest of firefighters ready to provide fire, rescue and emergency medical services to the community and the entire region,” Robertson said. “And as Mayor Hill pointed out, while it will serve up here on the hill, it’s also the second due engine into the Algona-Pacific area, as well as south Auburn and frees up the resources down in the valley to stay in the valley, providing for quicker response times.

“…The next time we meet it will be in a warm apparatus bay with lots of warm coffee and food. It will probably be in the winter, but now is our opportunity to turn some dirt,” Robertson said.

The bond also pays for:

• A complete interior and exterior remodel of the 27-year-old Lea Hill Station 24 at 31204 124th Ave. SE.

• A complete interior and exterior remodel of 23-year-old South Auburn Station 32 at 1951 R St. SE.

• A new ladder truck to replace the 1998 combination fire engine and 65-foot high hydraulic ladder.

The VRFA is considering the site for a future building that could include an emergency operations center and administrative offices.

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No. 33 to join VRFA lineup

• Location: 3.5 acres off 500 182nd Ave. E.

• Square footage: 12,791

• Project owner: Valley Regional Fire Authority

• Project manager: Paul Berry, Harris and Associates.

• Architect: Ed McManamna, Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning

• General contractor: Power Construction, Bellevue

• Projected completion date: Late fall, 2009

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