Duluth's Woodland neighborhood fighting for fire hall to stay open

By KBJR News 1

September 26, 2013 Updated Sep 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A group of Woodland businesses and residents is speaking out about concerns over the possibility of closing Woodland's fire hall, and consolidating it with another fire station a few miles down the road.

In September, the Duluth Fire Department proposed to the city council to consolidate Fire Station 11 in Woodland, and Fire Station Four near UMD.

The proposal would include building a new station by the intersection of Arrowhead Road and Woodland Avenue.

Fire Chief John Strongitharm says the proposal would be safer for fire fighters, since a minimum of four would be responding to active fires rather than the current set up of two per station.

He also says the design is better for the city as a whole.

But some Woodland businesses are petitioning to keep the current system in operation, saying it would take too long for fire crews to respond especially if the proposed station were responding elsewhere.

"We'd have to wait for a response from downtown, or Lakeside, which would be over 20 minutes. [That] could cause a death or emergency, could cause a house to totally burn down, [or] start neighboring houses on fire," said Denny's Ace Hardware Manager Dennis Moran, who's leading the petition drive.

Moran says his business's petition has received at least 200 signatures.

Other Woodland businesses are also gathering signatures.

The proposal is currently awaiting action from the Duluth City Council.