BLOOMINGTON – Just six weeks after severe flooding rendered its headquarters uninhabitable, the Bloomington Fire Department’s (BFD) new temporary headquarters at 226 South College Avenue are fully functional.
The headquarters operations were relocated among several other stations after BFD Station One (300 East Fourth Street) sustained flooding in both the basement and ground floor during the extreme weather event of June 18-19. No disruptions to fire response times occurred as a result of the station relocation.
Firefighting apparatus typically housed downtown were responding to emergencies and did not sustain damage from the flooding at the station. A timeline of the transition to the new temporary headquarters follows:
- June 20: Station One is determined to be uninhabitable due to flood damage.
- June 22: Following professional inspections, staff learns repairs to the facility will take a minimum of several months.
- June 23: The former Bunger and Robertson property at 226 South College Avenue is identified as a viable location for temporary relocation of partial operations. The property had been acquired by the City of Bloomington through its Redevelopment Commission in 2019 in preparation for a potential Convention Center expansion project.
- June 23-30: Information technology is installed at the College Avenue location, and equipment and furnishings not ruined by floodwaters are transferred to the new facility.
- June 24: BFD command staff successfully establish administrative functions at the College Avenue location.
- June 29: The new temporary headquarters has functionality to support an engine crew from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but is unable to secure its engine at night or provide external power to keep the apparatus batteries charged.
- Throughout July: BFD works with City’s departments of Information Technology Systems, Public Works (Facilities and Street Divisions), and Planning and Transportation, as well as independent contractors and property management to make upgrades needed to allow the College Avenue location to function as BFD’s interim headquarters 24/7.
- July 30: The Station Alerting system (Locution) is installed and operational at the new temporary headquarters.
- August 3: The new temporary headquarters is deemed to be fully functional. Command staff, an Engine, Squad, and Battalion Chief, in addition to the command staff, are able to respond from the temporary headquarters station.
The temporary station holds all of the resources regularly housed at the Fourth Street location with the exception of Truck 1 (the BFD ladder truck) which is temporarily stationed at the west-side Station 2, the only other station that can support the aerial. Staff continues to review options to relocate the aerial to a location closer to the new College Avenue station.
“The people of our Bloomington Fire Department were characteristically efficient and resourceful in relocating their operations after the flood,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “After a heroic weekend of saving lives and property, the BFD was able to continue delivering services without disruption, even though their own main facility was inundated. We couldn’t be prouder of and more grateful to our BFD team.”
The City continues to evaluate the damage to Station One and the potential for future flooding of the facility as it develops long-term plans for the BFD’s permanent headquarters.