A big change will soon be taking place in Sarpy County when the Papillion and La Vista fire departments merge, with Papillion taking over. What impact will it have on residents?
Last Sunday, a large brush fire broke out near South 120th Street and Giles Road. Multiple departments from around the area responded. It's not unusual for different departments to help each other out when needed, but starting April 1st that will be permanent in Papillion and La Vista.
“By the time we get done we'll be serving around 60,000 people,” says Papillion Fire Chief Bill Bowes. It's something that's been in the works for awhile. “All those plans now that we've been doing for the past few months are now coming to fruition."
The reason for the merger? It was the most cost-effective way for La Vista to get the fire service it needed. La Vista will no longer have a volunteer department with Papillion expanding into their area. There will be two fire stations in each city. “Now we'll have those four stations fully staffed 24/7."
The biggest change people may notice is that on every call there could be a combination of Papillion and La vista trucks. Firefighters are training on all trucks this week. After months of preparing, Bowes says they'll be ready come April and they're excited. “I think overall in the Papillion-La Vista community we'll have a better fire service available for them."
Because all four locations will be fully staffed, 12 additional firefighters have been hired. Bowes says they are looking forward to working with the La Vista community.