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Idaho FD unveils new firehouse focused on FF safety

Twin Falls Fire Station No. 3 was designed to reduce firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens

By Eric Goodell
The Times-News

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A bit of deja vu was in the air Tuesday at the grand opening of Twin Falls Fire Station No. 3.

Just last October, city officials and firefighters celebrated the completion of Station No. 2 on Cheney Drive.

Station No. 3, on Washington Street South near Orchard Drive, is a little smaller than the other, but the results are the same, speakers said: a state-of-the-art station that is safer for firefighters and something residents can be proud of.

“It is really for the community,” Fire Chief Les Kenworthy said. He said it shows what can happen when people get together for a good cause.

The station has two drive-thru bays, five sleep rooms and a gym. Importantly, there is a way to separate “clean” from “dirty” areas, keeping carcinogens firefighters might encounter when fighting blazes from entering living quarters.

[RELATED: Chief Bryan Frieders: We need Super Bowl-level efforts to conquer cancer]

The difference between the new station and the old station, a few stone’s throws away, is like night and day.

It is about 10,000 square feet compared with the older station’s 3,000 square feet, although Deputy Chief Mitchell Brooks joked that the older station sometimes felt much smaller. It was too small to fit all the fire apparatus inside.

Mayor Ruth Pierce recounted how the city, in its effort to replace outdated stations, was briefly stymied in 2019 when a $36 million bond narrowly failed.

“But that wasn’t going to stop us,” Pierce said.

A scaled-down plan, using a combination of impact fees and anticipation notes from the general and enterprise funds, helped build the new fire stations.

[RELATED: Idaho FD opens new firehouse focused on apparatus and PPE decon]

Fire Chief Les Kenworthy said three or four firefighters will man the station at a time. It is expected to be the last fire station the city builds for a while, although the city has property secured for a future station near Hankins Road and Filer Avenue as the city grows.

What will become of the old fire station hasn’t been finalized, Kenworthy said.

After several individuals spoke at the ground opening, a hose uncoupling ceremony was held — “we don’t do ribbons,” explained Brooks.

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