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Knightstown Fire Department Unveils New Station
April 25, 2007 - Members of the Knightstown Volunteer Fire Department proudly showed off their new station during a recent open house, an event that offered many attendees their first inside look at the new facility.
At more than 5,700 square feet, the KVFD's new station provides the department with more than three times the room it had before. Fire Chief Bob Schaeffer told The Banner the added space will allow the department to better serve the needs of the community.
"It gives us the opportunity to expand and grow our fire department larger than its ever been … and develop it into something better than we've ever had," Schaeffer said. "We have more room here to add additional equipment, and we also now have a lot of room inside the facility to move around and work on the trucks."
"It's been a long time coming," Knightstown Town Council President David Glenn told The Banner at the April 15 open house. A former member of the KVFD in the late '60s and early '70s, Glenn said, "This is going to mean a lot for both the town and the township … it's really going to benefit us all." Work began on the new four-bay station in December 2005, when the parking lot just south of the old station was removed to clear the site for construction of the new building. The KVFD moved into the new station last October.
Schaeffer told open house attendees that the cost of the new station was substantially less than what it should have been. "This is probably a $300,000 facility, and we've only got a little more than half that in it," Schaeffer said. "This just goes to show you what can be done when you get enough people involved."
The department was able to keep costs down, Schaeffer explained, thanks to the efforts of town employees and KVFD members who worked on the station. He also mentioned that the use of inmates from the Henry County work release program had contributed to the savings, with the pouring of concrete and installation of the heating and cooling system being the only work done by outside contractors.
During his remarks at the open house, Schaeffer said the township had financed the biggest part of the new station's construction. According to Knightstown Clerk-Treasurer Judy Haines, the township contributed $60,000 toward the station's total cost of $151,634.03, and its $20,000 payment to the town under its old yearly contract was also applied to the project. Through a joint agreement approved last year, a five-member board appointed by the town of Knightstown and the Wayne Township Advisory Board now oversees the fire department and meets monthly.
In addition to the new station itself, the open house also gave the KVFD an opportunity to display new equipment purchased with a $140,000 Homeland Security grant the department received last year. With the town required only to provide about $12,000 in matching funds, Schaeffer said the grant money allowed the KVFD to new turnout gear for its 26 members, as well as hose racks, equipment racks and 14 new air packs that cost about $4,000 apiece.
"We're really very fortunate," Schaeffer told the crowd. "We're in the best shape as a department today that we've ever been in."
The list of people Schaeffer thanked for helping the new station become a reality was extensive. Those singled out for appreciation included the Knightstown Town Council, former Knightstown Clerk-Treasurer Linda Stearns, Wayne Township Trustee Randy Oveman and the township advisory board, Knightstown Works Manager Mel Matlock, town employee Larry Rumple and other town employees, KVFD member Eric McDaniel for his work on the Homeland Security grant, Knightstown resident Rod Lingenfelter for the use of equipment, KVFD member Ben Madison and Carter Lumber, and town resident Joe Mueller, who prepared lunches for the work release inmates.
The KVFD received two plaques commemorating the new station during the open house. The first one was presented by Terri Hamilton on behalf of Southwest Ambulance Service, and the second plaque was received from the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association.
Members of the Knightstown Masonic Lodge also presented the KVFD with a plaque, but due to its contoured shape and heavy weight, it will not be able to be hung on a wall with the others. Local Mason Larry Selvidge explained that while cleaning an upper floor storage area in the lodge several years ago, members found a plaque memorializing two firefighters and one citizen who died while fighting a fire at the old lodge in 1899. The KVFD has not yet made final plans as to where or how this plaque will be displayed.
Note: This story and another in this issue were part of a full page spread that included photos. You can view that full page here
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