Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The Ainsworth Fire Department held an open house Saturday afternoon, allowing community members to see their new facility.
The department opened its new facility in February 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic hindered any possibility of the open house happening during that time.
For the department, the date couldn’t have worked any better as it was fire prevention week.
It’s been a long time coming.
“We’re proud to have been able to build this,” Assistance Chief Trent Olson said. “We worked a lot of years and worked hard to get this built. Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck, and we were unable to invite the community in and show off what we worked hard for. Also, to show that this is a part of the community and it belongs to everybody. The time has finally come to show people what we did and teach kids some fire prevention training.”
During the open house, visitors could go through fire prevention training, including stop drop and roll. There was also an information center, which encompassed the history of the station.
Visitors got the chance to explore the facility, which includes a work-in-progress gym, new drying racks, new uniforms and an upgraded office space.
People could also indulge in cookies and beverages at any point during their stay.
The entire cost of the new fire station was $467,810, which was $24,448 over the department’s budget.
Despite the considerable cost, the department worked hard to raise money and was awarded a grant to help with the cost.
The Washington County Riverboat Foundation awarded them a $330,000 grant to upgrade the facility in the spring of 2019. It was the second request made by the department. Their first request of $461,248 was denied in the fall of 2018.
Through fundraisers, they made $88,442 and $53,442 from cash donations.
With all the money raised, the department only had to pay $84,368 out of pocket.
Twenty-one volunteers run the department. Olson said that it’s about being bigger than yourself.
“It’s a pride thing,” he said. “That’s what we feed off of. When we go out and help someone in need or help save a property, that builds pride, and for people to come out here, it’s a gift in its own.”
Fire Chief Waylon Schultz said it’s thanks to the community that they could refurbish and upgrade their facilities.
“It means a lot,” Schultz said. “The community was such a huge part of this project. A lot of people donated money and time for our fundraisers to get to the point of building the new building. All that combined was a total community effort. It’s a big thing for our community. For them to get to come and see it is huge.”