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The first new fire station in over 50 years is officially open in Twin Falls

Posted at 6:20 PM, Oct 17, 2023

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — As Idaho grows, the need for emergency response grows with it.

In Twin Falls, a long-anticipated replacement for fire station number 2 has finally been realized.

The last time a fire station was built in the city, the population was a little over 20,000 people. The year was 1970, people drove slower and you didn’t hear a lot of rock-and-roll on the radio.

Now, the population of Twin Falls has more than doubled since then, and the same three fire stations have been trying to meet the emergent needs of 50,000 people.

In an effort to address these needs, the Twin Falls Fire Department along with city and state officials, opened doors to the new state-of-the-art Fire Station No. 2 on October 17.

Instead of a ribbon cutting, the fire department held a “hose decoupling” and then hoisted the colors for the first time.

Twin Falls resident Terry Oxley was among the attendees who crowded into the new station’s open house. Oxley said he was a fan of the new station.

“Twin Falls is growing like crazy, and the fire stations that we had are just not adequate to handle the whole city,” Oxley told Idaho News 6. “It’s a great station, it’s new, it’s got everything you’re going to need, and it should handle us for some years to come.’

In 2019 the city asked voters to approve a bond for three new fire stations, and 64 percent of voters said yes. The vote did not clear the supermajority requirement of 67 percent, so the city had to go back to the drawing board.

Plans were scaled back to two new fire stations, and funds were gathered using a combination of impact fees collected from new development, and notes from the city's general fund and enterprise funds.

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At nearly 13,000 square feet, the new Fire Station No. 2 is three times the size of the one it is replacing.

It has modern features such as three drive-through bays to house and wash all the station’s fire engines – something that has rarely happened in the past.

The station also has a workout area, living quarters that are minimal but functional, and an entertainment room for the firefighters quartered for rotation.

Another improvement this station provides over older versions is the addition of facilities for female firefighters – another first in the city.

Fire Chief Les Kenworthy said this new facility represented a big step forward for the department, as the city continues to grow.

“It feels really good that we’ve moved to this point in our Twin Falls Fire Department history,” Kenworthy said. It’s been a long time coming, I know our city management, our city council has had this vision for a very long time, and have been very supportive in getting us to this place.”

It also has a sanitary changing station, so firefighters can remove dirty oiled, or potentially toxic clothing and gear before entering the living quarters, to reduce exposure to potentially toxic materials.

Twin Falls Mayor Ruth Pierce told Idaho News 6 that the new location on West Cheney Drive will allow the department to respond more quickly to emergencies.

"The closer they are, the closer you are to a fire station, to somebody being able to respond to an issue you have, the better. And this end of town needs something this large, and so we’re really excited about it,” Pierce said.

The old station on University Avenue had a poor approach onto a busy street, both of which slowed down responding.

This is the first of two new fire stations in the city, a new fire station number 3 located at Washington and Orchard broke ground last October and should be completed around the new year.