LOVES PARK, Ill. (WIFR) ----- In just 14 short months, this formerly all-volunteer crew now has its own full-time staff and are eager to get what they need to better serve their community in a fraction of the time.
"When we look at how government usually moves, that we have moved at lightning speed."
With less than two years in the role, Loves Park Fire Chief Jerry Wiltfang is proud of the progress his team has made in such a short amount of time.
"To go from where we've been to where we are, to have two new rigs in line to come here, to have two new bays put onto this station, to have bought the property next door and then to have full time staff in 14 months, I think is pretty incredibly fast," said Chief Wiltfang.
To address the rapid growth, the Loves Park City Council approved a resolution that provides funding for two new fire engines and updated equipment, all to address the needs of the community.
"Our response times were getting close to 20 minutes before we were here, before we had our full time crew, and now we're looking to average around 6 minutes, by the time the tone goes off, until we're at a person's house is about 6 minutes. It's just going to bring more safety to the public and hopefully all around Loves Park," said Captain Adam Kuehl.
Loves Park Mayor Greg Jury says these measures will allow the fire department to flourish with the tools they need to succeed.
"We've always felt very good about our police department, but we knew we needed to step up our game on our fire department side, we brought in a couple great chiefs, they're leading us. We've got full time firefighters, full time paramedics now and the citizens have been very happy with the service that they're receiving. It's another step that we've made over the last year, year and a half to improve our public safety here in the city of Loves Park," said Mayor Jury.