County volunteer squad ready for upgrade

Alex Mitchell Star Intern
Monday, June 29, 2020
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The current Custer Country Fural Volunteer Fire Company’s headquarters was never intended as a fire hall and has become “tight,” according to Fire Warden Bud Petersen.
STAR PHOTO/Alex Mitchell

The Custer County Rural Volunteer Fire Company (CCRVFC) is getting a new fire hall, an upgrade from the present one on North Haynes Avenue to the north of Pine Hills Correctional Facility.

The current CCRVFC fire hall exists in what was originally a space for Pine Hills and was never intended to be a fire hall, according to Custer County Fire Warden Bud Peterson. A new building was on CCRVFC’s mind for a while, with engines having to back into the building and the space becoming increasingly “tight” with engines and firefighting equipment stored in it and classes and training for volunteer firefighters conducted being among the inconveniences of the current fire hall.

“The building we are using is getting old and we would probably end up sinking more money into it with renovations having to be made to it,” Peterson said. “So a grant became available, and with the intent that we would get the money, we planned on constructing a new fire hall.”

So, Custer County applied for the statewide Delivering Local Assistance grant and received $750,000 in March for the public safety project, the full amount allowed by the infrastructure grant. Also, adding to their budget is a $100,000 donation from the Custer County Volunteer Fire Association who sold their building on 2801 Main St. to East Main Animal Clinic.

The fire hall is currently in its design phase with the CCRVFC establishing a committee and working with the county commissioners to decide how to best design the building within the current budget. Construction bidding won’t commence until late fall or early winter with construction estimated to start that spring.

CCRVFC currently consists of 24 regular volunteers with 22 firefighting vehicles including two engines part of the company. According to Peterson, the building will offer the features they don’t have with the current fire hall like a locker room for volunteers, indoor washing rooms for trucks, a place to drive fire trucks through instead of backing them in, and simply more space.

“I think it provides a facility for our rural firefighters to be able to continue and provide this to our rural community and also allow greater collaboration with the city’s fire department,” Custer County Commissioner Chairman Jason Strouf said. “It’s probably not conceivable that we won’t need these firefighting resources into the future. This is a good way to sustain and help that.”

Custer County has now received a total of $1.5 million from the DLA grant that was created in 2019 with Miles City also receiving $750,000 for Phase III of the Darling Addition street and utilities rehabilitation project.

“Miles City got 1.5 million which as a result is surely going to help our economy,” District 2 County Commissioner Keith Holmlund said.