The village has some decisions to make. Leaders of the Caledonia Fire Department believe 18 more firefighters need to be hired, but the cost of that would be in the millions and is more of a long-term goal.
For starters, Fire Chief Richard Roeder and Battalion Chief Jeff Henningfeld want to add six new firefighters. They said it would be the first time the department has actually increased its staff since 1999.
“The Village of Caledonia really has to decide: ‘How are we going to provide fire protection for ourselves?’ ” Henningfeld said at the March 4 Village Board meeting .
To get the ball rolling, Henningfeld and Roeder asked the Village Board for permission to apply for a federal SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant.
“We’ve been scraping and scrounging for the last 10 years,” Roeder said. “Let’s take the big step now. Let’s increase our staffing.”