Cloquet Area Fire District will vacate Station 3 in Scanlon

The move is part of a broader effort by the district to save money in lieu of tight finances.

File: Cloquet Area Fire District
The Cloquet Area Fire District plans to consolidate equipment and staff from Station 3 to Station 1 (pictured).
File / Cloquet Pine Journal

CLOQUET — The Cloquet Area Fire District will vacate Station 3 in Scanlon in an effort to reduce costs.

The CAFD Board voted unanimously to support the motion at its meeting Wednesday, April 19.

District staff will consolidate equipment and staff from Station 3 to Station 1, according to board documents. The move will save an estimated $75,000 annually in operating expenses, according to minutes from the CAFD Board retreat held April 10.

Chief Jesse Buhs said officials studied whether the change would impact response time. Paid-on call staff work out of Station 3, which means they have to go to the station to get their gear and equipment before responding to a call, Buhs said. The district's full-time staff from Station 1 often arrive just before or at about the same time as responders from Station 3.

District officials sought feedback from the mayor and City Council in Scanlon.


The district will continue to pay for bills associated with its lease on the building through the end of 2022, unless Scanlon officials find another tenant and release the CAFD from its financial obligations, board documents showed.

Board member Gary Harms, who represents Perch Lake Township, asked why the district would continue to pay for expenses toward the station if it isn't using the facility.

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Because Scanlon had planned on the CAFD using the facility, they didn't budget to take on those costs, Buhs said.

"If we’re out of their facility completely by July 1, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to lease it and shift the burden of those expenses to someone else," he said.

Board Chair Linda Way, who represents Brevator Township, said she believes it's the right move.

"It shows a level of respect for the years that they let us use their facility," she said.

The move is part of a broader effort by the district to save money in lieu of tight finances.

To that end, the board also approved a recommendation to sell two of the district's vehicles — a rescue rig and a brush rig — and to trade in an ambulance that has not been in use.


They would also eliminate a fire engine from the fleet, which when combined with the sale of the brush truck, would save $750,000 in apparatus not being replaced, as well as additional savings for maintenance and testing.

The move would also cut $970,000 from the district's capital improvement plan.

Officials will put the money from the vehicle sales and trade-in toward the design and purchase of a new rescue/engine vehicle. The board did not have to vote on this part of the proposal, Buhs said.

"They stated that they fully supported the apparatus plan and will vote on the purchase of a new vehicle when the design and pricing work is completed," Buhs said in an email to the Cloquet Pine Journal.

The board's next meeting is May 17.

Jen Zettel-Vandenhouten is the regional editor for Duluth Media Group, overseeing the Cloquet Pine Journal and the Superior Telegram.
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