New Fire Station In Missouri Valley, Iowa Falls Two Votes Short

The fire chief in the western Iowa town of Missouri Valley says Tuesday night was clear proof that votes do count.

A $1.5 million bond initiative to build a new fire station failed, by only two votes. Missouri Valley Fire Chief Kaleb Wohlers tells WOWT-6 News they have been fighting for a new fire station for decades.

“It's frustrating but it's exciting because that's the closest it's ever been." He says they need new equipment and service vehicles but they can't buy new models because they are too big to fit through the garage doors of the current station.

Those vehicles have trouble just getting out of the outdated building right now. “We've been trying to get a new station from my understanding since the 80s,” Wohlers says.

Tuesday's bond initiative only had a 400 voter turnout. “Out of a town that’s only 3,000 people, when turnout was only 400, there’s obviously more voters out there that we could try to talk to and get them to be active,” Wohlers tells WOWT-6 News.

He says what the community doesn't understand are the future health risks his department face every day. “Study after study is showing the higher risk than the normal population among firefighters, and a lot of it is not even to do with the smoke, it's to do with all the carcinogens our gear absorbs and not being able to have the facilities to clean it properly is kinda a big worry of ours.”

Had the vote gone the other way, Wohlers says construction on a new fire station could have started this summer. The next time a special election can be held is in six months and Wohlers says they will do what they can to educate voters and get better support.

(Photo: WOWT-TV 6)

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