Fire station 16 opens in Boone County

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COLUMBIA - Station #16 is the newest addition to Boone County's fire stations. 

The station, which sits northeast of Columbia on Route HH, is hosting an open house on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The public is invited to walk through the station and enjoy food and refreshments at the opening.

Gale Blomenkamp, the assistant chief of the Boone County Fire District, said the station's location will reduce response times for emergencies between Route Z and Route B.

"Having a fire station right next to this community out here in the rural part of Boone County, where we had an opening, I think we should see a significant increase in our ability to service our customers in this area," he said.

Blomenkamp said having a quick response time is important.

"When you're talking medical emergencies, heart attacks and difficulty breathing, it can absolutely mean the difference between life and death," he said. "When you're talking structure fires it can mean the difference of saving a structure or losing a structure based on how far advanced that fire is."

Blomenkamp also said the new station will allow homeowners and business owners the ability to see significant savings on their insurance premiums. 

Located at 6550 E Highway HH, funding for station #16 was part of the $14 million bond issue, which passed in 2014. Station #16 has room for four resident volunteer firefighters. Blomenkamp said at least one firefighter is expected to move in at the end of May. The other spots could be filled by firefighters living in nearby stations. The station has one fire engine and one brush truck. 

Allie Wallis lives in the neighborhood adjacent to the fire station. She said she is very excited for the station's nearby location.

"We were just overjoyed to have something so close that could save your house," Wallis said. "It's just so comforting to know that help could be right at your door in a matter of seconds."

She said her insurance will also benefit because of the fire station.

"When I talked to my insurance adjuster she said that we got knocked into the next tax bracket, so we're hoping to see a decrease in our monthly home insurance," Wallis said.

The nearby station sits on land donated by the Jay Turner Family. Blomenkamp told KOMU 8 News that Jay Turner has been a long time supporter of the fire district and donated the land to show his appreciation for the volunteer fire fighters in the area.