By Joe Morey
LCO Fire Chief Jim Miller likes the proposed location of the new LCO Fire Hall at the site of the former Tru-Gas satellite gas tanks near the Four Corners area of Trepania Road, Froemel Road, Round Lake School Road and Indian Trail. The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) debated two locations, the Four Corners, or where the old fire hall once resided in Reserve. The Four Corners was selected due to its proximity to the most populated areas of the Reservation.
LCO Sec-Treasurer Michelle Beaudin questioned whether the southern areas of the Reservation would be neglected with the fire hall located in the north part, but Miller noted there is a fire hall in New Post that could serve the southern areas like Six Mile and Signor.
“We have a number of people to respond from New Post and we have a truck located there,” Miller said. He also explained that all volunteer members of the LCO Fire Department are state certified and cross-trained as first responders and in operations of all equipment. He added all volunteers are reviewed annually.
The project planner for the new fire hall, Brian Bisonette, added that most 9-1-1 calls to Sawyer County come from the area of the north part of the Reservation, which includes Dry Town, Schoolhouse, and K-Town areas. The fire hall located at the Tru-Gas site will be centrally located to those communities.
Miller stated to TGB that one problem they have at the fire department is that a number of their people aren’t responding to calls. He said they are currently recruiting for more volunteers.
LCO Vice Chairwoman Lorraine Gouge told Miller that the Tribe needs to get the department ready for the new building.
“There was a time when our fire department seemed to be stronger. We need to get back to that level,” Gouge said.
According to the latest CARES Act projects budget presented to TGB by project managers Bisonette and Booki Weilgot, the fire hall project is estimated to cost $1,530,000. The funding will come from the CARES Act and groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for August 10.