GREAT FALLS — Helping the community is a bedrock belief of all first responders, but crews can't assist anyone if their capabilities are crumbling beneath their feet.
“Around two years ago all the stations started having problems with their sewer and plumbing lines," said Great Falls Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Jones.
The agency has been digging deep with the city to find a solid solution to a host of aging infrastructure issues.
On December 17th, Great Falls City Commissioners approved nearly $150,000 to break ground on needed upgrades at three of the four stations.
Commissioners awarded Copper Creek Construction the contract to replace the aged plumbing lines in Station 4 at 1800 Fox Farm Road, Station 2 at 731 6th Street NW, and Station 1 at 105 9th Street South.
“A lot of places there is no pipe left, it's just open ground,” said Jones
Station Four is the only location of the three that will close up shop completely - Jones says the location receives the least amount of fire calls.
"We're hoping it will take around two months," he said. Then, it's back to business as usual.
“As soon as the station is able to bring a fire truck back in, we have running water, we have running sewer, then we'll occupy the station again," said Jones.
He asks the public to be patient come January 13th as crews from neighboring districts step up to cover calls. While station four is the least busy, the location helps other busier areas by responding to calls. Jones expects service times to be affected by the construction, but not often or by very much.
“There will be delays, can't say there won't,” he said. “But we will try to minimize those as much as we can."
Construction on all three stations is expected to take around six to seven months.
First responders and firefighters at the Fox Farm location will be working out of Station 1 during construction.