New Clarks Grove fire hall nearly complete

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, February 23, 2019

CLARKS GROVE — When the March 2017 tornado struck, causing substantial damage, five volunteer Clarks Grove Fire Department members were in the city’s fire station riding out the storm, including Carl Anderson and Fire Chief Steven Thisius.

“It blew out all of the overhead doors, so the guys had to put chains around the doors and pull them away from the building with their pickups so we could get the trucks,” Anderson said. “Because we knew we had to go through the community to make sure everybody was safe and evaluate exactly what happened.”

The tornado destroyed the fire station and damaged other places in the community, including the Thompson Sanitation facility, hardware store, CFS building and other places.

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On a December day less than two years later, Thisius and Anderson stood where the new, approximately 7,400-square-foot, prestressed concrete fire station was nearly complete.

Anderson said he was “impressed” with how well construction has gone, particularly “the workmanship and how all the subcontractors are working with the main contractors.”

The project architect is Mankato-based Brunton Architects, and the contractor is Blue Earth-based Ankeny Builders.

The approximately 7,400-square feet facility is double the size of the former facility. — Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

The building committee of approximately 10 fire department members and city officials planned the layout of the building.

Construction began Aug. 1 and was expected to be complete Dec. 31, with estimated move-in a couple weeks later.

The $1.6 million facility is estimated to be double the size of the old fire station and hold five trucks. The department has four trucks.

Thisius described his excitement for the facility.

“Excited — extremely excited,” he said. “Been told that this is kind of the lowest possible cost for this style of building, so it’s kind of nice to know that this might be a frontage for more volunteer departments to be able to afford something like this.”

The building will have wider, taller doors than the former fire department building.

Thisius said having more space will enable more training room. The department typically trains on the use of trucks, equipment, ladders, hoses, search and rescue and for EMTs and first responders.

“It’s definitely safer,” he said. “We have more space in-between our gear, so that’s safer. There’s just all-around more room.

The new Clarks Grove fire station includes five bays. — Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

“It will be a quicker response.”

The Clarks Grove Fire Department serves an approximately 30-square-mile radius in the Clarks Grove area and provides mutual aid for the 15 other fire departments in Freeborn County.

Thisius estimated the Fire Department responds to approximately 100 calls per year.

“I can’t wait to get in here,” Thisius said. “I think it would make every volunteer fireman proud to be a member of the Clarks Grove volunteer fire department.”

By the Numbers

$1.6 million – Estimated cost of the new building

100 – Calls the Clark Grove Fire Department responds to each year

7,400 – Square feet of the new Clarks Grove fire hall

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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