Oldest station in Peoria relocates, should decrease response time on the south side

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PEORIA, Ill. — Construction will start to take place early next year for the city’s new fire station.

In December of 2018, the Peoria City Council approved a budget that will allow the city to build a new Peoria Fire Department Station 4 for residents on the southwest end near Bradley University. Fire Chief Tony Ardis said the city paid $40,000 to purchase the vacant lot on Howett and Western and bonded $2.5 million for construction.

“The current Station 4 is the oldest station in the city. It’s in very bad disrepair. We knew something had to be done whether it was knowing a bunch of money needed to be thrown in that station or a new station needed to be built,” Ardis said. “[City Council] started looking at response times and how that area changed over the years.”

Neighbors near Bradley University will benefit most from this move. Populated areas with older building structures or multiple abandon buildings are considered high risk.

Currently, it takes firefighters at Station 4 almost 10 minutes to reach people in the area of Western Avenue. This is about four to six minutes longer than typical response times in the district.

Ardis said relocating the facility to a high-risk area will cut the response time in half.

“This area is a high-risk area because of all the fraternities, sororities, dorms,” he said. “We always want to get the resources there as quickly as possible and it’s just difficult to get engine 4 to reach that area now in its current location.”

Station 4 is currently located at 2711 SW Jefferson Ave., but the new department should be finished by the end of 2020. Ardis says he hopes having the station in a high-risk area will reduce the amount of recent arson and prompt neighbors to keep up their community.

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