Bond for new fire station in Pendleton on May ballot - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Bond for new fire station in Pendleton on May ballot

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PENDLETON, OR - Pendleton fire station 1 has been around since the 1950s, designed for a different era.

Right now, it's up to the voters to pass a $10 million bond for a desperately needed new station. Reporter Jaclyn Selesky visited the station today and saw first hand why a new building is vital for the city of Pendleton.

One of the biggest challenges the Pendleton Fire Department faces every single day is simply where their station is located. It was only a month ago that one of their fire trucks crashed into a car right on the state highway where the station sits.

"Seconds count when somebody dials 911, whether it's a fire or a medical emergency," said Chief Mike Ciraulo, Pendleton Fire Department. "Our biggest challenge right now is just getting out of our own fire station."

?That problem is just one of the many reasons why they have a nearly $10 million bond on the special election ballot right now.

The city hired an outside consulting firm who said that the current fire station can't be remodeled, it has to be replaced and in a better location. But, location is hardly the biggest concern. Right now the station is infested with black mold, asbestos, lead and carcinogens.

"We understand and accept the risk when we respond to dangerous incidents out there. But living in the station, breathing, eating, sleeping, showering in these conditions is not fair for the men and women who signed up to serve the public."

Speaking of men and women, they just hired their first female firefighter ever. But with such inadequate sleeping quarters, they had to convert a storage unit into her bedroom.

"Yeah it is a closet, there's still a lot of stuff that has to be stored in there so room is limited," said Jaclyn Berentsen.

If the bond is passes, not only would that mean a brand new fire station, but also new medical equipment to serve the people of Pendleton.

"They constantly come into my office and request the right equipment the right cardiac monitors to serve the citizens," said Ciraulo. "They want to save lives."

This vote for the bond is being done through a mail-in ballot and it closes next Tuesday, May16th at 8 p.m.