PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The 182nd Airlift Wing of Illinois Air National Guard on Tuesday held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly constructed Crash, Fire, Rescue Station at Peoria Air National Guard Base.
The nearly 18,000 square foot $7.9 million facility houses eight emergency response vehicles, four support trailers, 27 state firefighters, 33 Air National Guardsmen and the latest cutting edge equipment.
“It gives us a state-of-the-art facility with adequate space, and now we can house all our emergency response equipment in one location, whereas before it was spread throughout the base,” said Clifford Otto, installation fire chief at Peoria Air National Guard Base. “It allows us to reach our full potential in staffing, which allows us more flexibility to respond to the community.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) worked together to secure the funds for the fire station. Bustos said the project itself goes back a decade and three administrations. Construction broke ground in June 2019 and completed Aug. 2021.
“This wouldn’t have happened without the two of us working together,” LaHood said. “Its not about Republicans and Democrats, its about bipartisanship. This is a good example of it, supporting the 182nd.”
Bustos said at one point, the Trump administration tried to redirect the funds for the border wall, but they both advocated for the project.
“It was a little bit of a soap opera actually, a lot of ups and downs, and ins and outs to make this happen,” Bustos remarked. “We had to yell and kick and scream to make sure that didn’t happen.”
The crash, fire, rescue station also serves Peoria International Airport.
“Even if you just fly in and out of the Peoria Airport, you can have peace of mind that they’re standing by here,” Bustos said. “It’s here for the community, it is here to respond to emergencies anywhere in the country or world also. This is a big deal, [and] we are very happy to be a part of it.”