LUTHER - On a snowy winter day in late December, even the weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the community citizens who gathered for the Luther Fire District 1 groundbreaking ceremony for the new fire station to be built on Linden Street, in Luther.

The Luther Fire District No. 1 is a small, rural fire district, servicing two townships and the Village of Luther, covering an area of approximately 108 square miles.

The Fire District was formed in 1972, by an agreement between Newkirk Township, Ellsworth Township and the Village of Luther. All equipment belonging to the three entities were pooled and in 1972 a building was erected to house the fire department.

The fire department has a fire chief, 17 firemen, including seven Medical First Responders; two EMT’s and is licensed as a MFR department.

They respond to fires and rescues in the two townships and the village and participate in mutual aid with other local fire departments. The service area has over 30,000 acres of state and national forest, and crews are called upon to assist the DNR with forest fires.

The existing fire hall no longer has the space required to house the equipment and vehicles that provide the fire and emergency services that are essential to the community. A structural inspection in 2010 revealed cracks in the floor of the fire barn where trucks are stored, a rusting steel roof, and most significantly, posts to support the roof and building trusses that are 60 percent deteriorated.

Any repair work done to the existing building would not be cost effective. Constructing a new fire hall was deemed a more economically sound plan to benefit the Luther area in a practical way.

The 7,820-square-foot new fire barn will include. a seven-bay garage, to house the five emergency vehicles (including a 1,900 - gallon tanker fire truck awarded to the fire department through a USDA grant in 2010). Also the building will include an office, locker rooms, mechanical room, training/community room and kitchen.

Officials hope to have the project completed in time for an open house during the annual Fourth of July Luther Days festival.