(New Carlisle, IN) - Firefighters in New Carlisle are settling into a new home in a familiar location.
After decades of being a volunteer department, New Carlisle went to a full-time staff two years ago. Over the winter they converted extra space in their existing fire house into living quarters. A dine-in kitchen, locker room, bunkroom, meeting space, and mini-theater now make the station a home away from home for about half a dozen first responders.
According to Fire Chief Josh Schweizer, the renovation was a complete tear-out. "They basically gutted the whole thing, except for the block walls," he said. "We did add some block walls in spots and basically built it for a staff of theoretically seven 24-hour personnel at a time."
The improvements started last October. Supply chain issues slowed construction a bit. But they were able to fully move in by April. Currently the department has five first responders, but are in the process of hiring a sixth. "We made it a little bit scalable, so as we grow and call volume goes up and the need goes up, we can add on as needed," Schweizer said.
Now they have a small town fire house to be proud of. Recently, the department hosted an open house for former volunteer members. "For most [New Carlisle] firefighters, this is the only fire station they've ever known," Schweizer said. "And so we wanted to open it to them to say, 'This is where you guys got us, and now this is where we're going with it.'"
Earlier this week, the MOPS group from the New Carlisle Wesleyan Church stopped by for a visit. Firefighters gave about two dozen local kids and their parents a guided tour of the newly improved facilities.