BY MELANIE BUCK –
Potter Volunteer Fire Department is building a new station that will allow for more training room and extra bays to hold their equipment. Potter Fire Chief Vernon Wells has been with the department for several years and explained that the old building is simply, “run down.”
The existing station has been used since the inception of the department in the mid-1970’s. The department has grown beyond the current 30 ft. x 50 ft. wooden structure and is excited to have a new 50 ft. x 60 ft. building, constructed of steel.
The new station will sit just around the corner from the current station, which is located behind the old livestock barn in Potter.
Wells said the new department will include three bays to hold their equipment, which includes two engines, a tanker, and three brush trucks. It will also house a training/meeting room, an office, and rest rooms. The building will also be wheelchair accessible, something the current station does not have.
Wells expects the project to only take a couple of months. “We’re expecting steel around the middle of this week,” said Wells. Once the steel arrives, he expects it will take about three weeks to have the structure built, including the steel siding and roof. After that, the department will decide on interior wall materials, such as sheetrock or paneling.
Potter Volunteer Fire Department has been saving money for a new station for several years and are thankful to see the plan come to fruition. “We’ve been struggling about five years to save enough money to build a new station,” said Wells. “Potter has been really good supporters to us. They pay their dues and attend our fundraisers well.”
Over the last five years, the department was able to save for a $20,000 down payment and took a loan at the bank to pay the rest. Wells explained that the $42,500 borrowed, will take five years to repay.
“We’ve had real good feedback from the community about the new building. A lot of people at the fish fry this year were interested and gave good donations for it,” Wells said.
The Potter Volunteer Fire Department currently has around 14 personnel including firefighters and first responders. Their membership in Potter includes approximately 600. Membership into the department costs $40 per year. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer or a member, contact Chief Vernon Wells at 479-243-5377.