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La Crosse and Holmen could share fire service temporarily, under agreement passed by La Crosse committee

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Does every town in the immediate La Crosse area need its own fire department?  City leaders in La Crosse are posing that question, as La Crosse and Holmen are preparing to share fire services for a year, if elected leaders approve the idea. 

The chair of the La Crosse finance committee, Doug Happel, already backs the proposed collaboration, saying it’s “almost silly” for communities close together to have different fire departments. 

A memorandum for a one-year trial of the project moves on to next week’s city council meeting, following a unanimous vote by the council’s finance committee.

Holmen Chief Buck Manley, hired in 2018, has been on administrative leave for three months, and La Crosse Chief Ken Gilliam would take his place temporarily under the proposed agreement.  Gilliam says the regional approach is worth a try, and admits that such a partnership would mean added work for him and his staff.   

Gilliam is hopeful of getting support for the shared services from local firefighter unions, and people speaking at the committee meeting were concerned about how much La Crosse would have to spend to offer fire protection to Holmen.  

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

  1. Nick Berry

    July 2, 2021 at 8:18 am

    There is an organization called the National Fire Protection Association that determines the protection class of a community for insurance purposes. the ratings are 1-10; one being the best and 10 being the worst. Property insurance rates are determined partly on the fire protection class.
    The fire chiefs should be well aware of this.
    A higher number means higher rates.
    I hope this is being contemplated.

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