Can-do community

By Deb Hadachek
Belleville Telescope – March 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 11, 2014

The Narka members of the Munden-Narka Rural Fire Department are on a quest to build a new fire station.

“It’s not just that we need to replace the current building,” says Narka mayor and Assistant Fire Chief Nathan Svoboda.

“We need a larger water truck, and we don’t have a place to put one.”

The plan for a new station was jump started earlier this winter when a fundraiser for the fire department brought in half of what members estimate materials will cost to build a 40×60′ building with four bays. Members of the community plan to donate their labor and expertise to construct the building, Svoboda says.

Fire trucks are currently stored in a building that once served as a chicken soup, said Svoboda. Volunteers can barely squeeze in the doors of the trucks in the building, let alone store equipment.

But the need for a bigger water truck that can be filled quickly is what is really driving the building project.

“We’d like to have a two inch (water line) with drops for each truck,” he says. “Right now, we fill the truck out of a garden hose.”

But Svoboda said the department will keep its smaller water truck, which is easier to maneuver back into fields during grass fires.

The current building isn’t well insulated, which also means that trucks must be checked on a regular basis to make sure water hasn’t frozen, he said.

Women volunteers

The department applied for a grant last year that would have provided state funds in exchange for volunteer labor. The community did not qualify for the grant, and the idea for a building was tabled.

This winter the fire department hosted a fundraising auction that brought in double what volunteers expected. They planned to use proceeds towards equipment, and after estimating costs, realized they might have enough to start a building project within their local budget. A piece of land was donated for the new station by Roger Stephens.

The current building is owned by the City of Narka.

“We have enough now to pour a concrete pad and get the plumbing in,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind getting the shell up if we could.

“People have told us they would be willing to donate towards a new building. We think we can do this ourselves (without a grant) and get it done ourselves.”

The some 15 volunteers on the Narka department include a half dozen women. Kenny Svoboda is fire chief.

“It depends on who’s in town,” Svoboda says. “In the summertime, we’re really stretched thin.”

Nathan Svoboda works as a contractor. When Doyle Kvasnicka’s custom harvest crews leave, so do five volunteers.

“Sometimes Buck (Beam) and I are the only two in town during the day, and in the summer, I’m out on a sprayer,” says volunteer Darrin Eisenbarth, who works for the UFC elevator in Narka. “The women really help out.”

Svoboda said volunteers who are in town when a fire call comes in can take trucks to the site, and other volunteers meet them there. Oftentimes the owner of the property where the fire is happening pitches in and helps.

Svoboda estimates the department is called to two dozen fires a year, more during burning season. The department also helps out surrounding fire departments. One of the biggest fires in recent memory was the Palecek Implement fire north of Munden, Svoboda says.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


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