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New fire hall completed in Dunn Center: West Dunn Fire Protection District gets meeting and training areas, more space

DUNN CENTER -- The West Dunn Fire Protection District will have additional space to hold meetings, and to store its trucks and equipment when contractors finish the new Dunn Center Fire Hall.

DUNN CENTER - The West Dunn Fire Protection District will have additional space to hold meetings, and to store its trucks and equipment when contractors finish the new Dunn Center Fire Hall.

“Basically, we outgrew the old one and we needed more room,” said Richard Regeth, president of the fire district’s board of directors.

The 60-by-80-foot wooden framed building was constructed for less than $1 million and financed by the West Dunn Fire District, the Dunn County Commissioners and the city of Dunn Center. Final inspection with contractors Ainsworth Benning Construction Inc., was held Friday.

A building committee worked with GT Architecture of Dickinson to design the building and dirt work started in August 2015, Regeth said.

“The building committee and architects would drive to the actual site to review progress every month,” Regeth said. “This whole project went about as smooth as it could go.”

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The West Dunn Fire Protection District goes west to the Billings County line, north to the Little Missouri River, east past Dunn Center and south of Manning. The district is served by fire halls in Killdeer and Dunn Center.

Jamie Reese was recently elected to replace John Keller, who retired as district fire chief after 25 years of service with the fire department.

“We talked about a new fire hall two years ago, but the prices were too high,” said Keller, who served on the building committee.

He described the old fire hall floors as sinking, with no room for meetings, and only a foot of space separating the newest pumper from the door.

“There was no place we could train, no meeting rooms,” he said. “We’re one of the biggest districts in the state of North Dakota. We definitely needed a fire hall in Dunn Center.”

Ryan Hauck, who was elected Dunn Center fire chief in January, said the fire district has 35 volunteers on its roster - 15 at Dunn Center and another 20 at Killdeer.

“Essentially we outgrew the building - we didn’t have an office, storage or meeting room,” Hauck said. “We didn’t have a space to properly clean and hang our fire hoses. Every nook and cranny were filled.”

Hauck is looking forward to a fire hall having a kitchenette, office, meeting room, men’s and women’s bathrooms, and four stalls for parking trucks and apparatuses.

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“Everybody is excited about the fire hall, the cleanliness of everything,” he said.

Hauck described the firefighters as volunteers who are committed to their communities and who spend endless hours of training time.

He operates a farm and ranch seven miles southeast of Dunn Center and works in the county shop at Manning.

“If the page goes off, the dispatch calls in the fire situation,” he said. “If the fire is closer to Killdeer, guys from Killdeer respond. And if it’s near Dunn Center, guys living in Dunn

Center respond. Since I work out of Manning, I carry my gear with me at all times. There have been times when I’ve actually responded with a county truck. My employer lets us go with no questions asked.”

Hauck said the new fire hall will be used for monthly training, such as auto extractions, practice with the apparatus or training on communications.

“We prepare for the worse and hope for the best,” he said.

With the current dry conditions, firefighters are especially concerned about grass fires.

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“I can remember fighting grass fires in January - a fire doubles in size every minute,” he said.

The firefighters hope to take possession of the building after the plans are finalized - more than likely by the end of March, he said.

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The Dunn Center Fire Hall, shown March 9, will provide better training and storage areas for the West Dunn Fire Protection District when it’s completed in April. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)

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