Damaged in flood: Downtown Bloomington fire station closed for unknown time

Bloomington’s fire station at Fourth and Lincoln streets in downtown will be closed, “for an unknown period of time,” according to a press release issued by the city early Wednesday afternoon.

The closing is due to damage sustained to the station during last weekend’s flooding, when 5 to 7 inches of rain fell on Bloomington from late Friday night into Saturday morning.

According to the press release, the equipment and personnel for the downtown station will be redeployed at one of among the city’s other four stations.

According to the press release, the time for firefighters to respond to calls will not be compromised due to the closure: “Based on a careful reallocation of equipment and personnel, no significant delays in emergency response times are anticipated.”

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. on June 23, 2021: In a press release issued late Wednesday afternoon, the city of Bloomington announced that the police station, on 3rd Street, a block south of the closed fire station, is able to continue normal  operations despite flood damage. According to the release, the losses included “significant damage to electronic and computer equipment.”

The fact that there was not more damage is credited to fast-acting city employees.  Police chief Mike Diekhoff is quoted in the release saying, “[It] could have been much worse without the quick responses of BPD officers, non-sworn staff and facilities managers who began the recovery process well before the last drop of rain had fallen.”]

The fire station closure was foreshadowed on Monday morning, when Bloomington fire chief Jason Moore, among other government officials, briefed a gathering of Kirkwood merchants at People’s Park. The park was at the center of some of the worst flooding on Kirkwood Avenue, and the 4th Street fire station is just a couple of blocks away.

Moore said on Monday at the park that the basement of the fire station was filled with eight feet of water and that the generators powering the station, even though normal power had been restored, could not be turned off—because the controls are in the basement.

The press release states that, “flooding that filled the entire basement and part of the first floor degraded the building’s communication system and electrical system, including controls for the back-up generator for the facility, making the structure uninhabitable.”

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