Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rapid City Fire Department seeks to reopen historic station

The historic Station 2. Currently, the station is only used as a staging area for training
C.J. Keene
The historic Station 2. Currently, the station is only used as a staging area for training

A historic fire station could find new life. It could also mean nearly two dozen new first responders for Rapid City.

The Rapid City Fire Department is assessing revitalizing the currently out-of-use station located at North Maple Avenue.

RCFD fire chief Jason Culberson said the station has been closed for 14 years.

“A big chunk of our call volume originates out of this district – so basically, I-90 south over here to Star Village Hill – to the point where all of our other units start having to come in here to respond to those calls," Culberson said. "So, it keeps them out of those districts.”

That becomes a problem when station one’s medic unit is already overstretched.

“It is consistently in the top 50 ambulances as far as call volume in the country, not just in the city," Culberson said. "We have many studies that have shown after about 3,000 calls – a unit does 3,000 calls – it becomes unreliable to do the next call in that area, and Medic 1 is back up in the 3,700 calls.”

Culberson said 21 new hires occupying the new station would have a serious impact on Rapid City’s first responders.

“I estimate somewhere around 2,000 to 2,500 calls that they’d be able to respond to," Culberson said. "Which then takes that off Medic 1, Medic 11 and Medic 2, but really what it takes off is the ambulances that are coming from other districts.”

The subject will be heard at the next city council legal and finance committee hearing.

At the same time, major construction at Rapid City’s Fire Station 1 continues through the winter, and officials say they’re happy with the progress.

Station 1 is in the heart of downtown, its primary area of service.

Chief Culberson, whose office walls are currently made of plywood, said the development is moving along nicely.

“We’ve been able to maneuver things around in order to be able to stay operational, so no impact to the community for 911 response at all," Culberson said. "It’s on track, it’s on schedule. If you go outside now on the East Boulevard side you’ll see some brick, a lot of interior work is going on the East Boulevard Side, and on the south addition they just got the concrete in on the floor.”

Culberson expects the additions to be complete by October, and full completion of the project by May of 2025.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture