When Mike Hepfler became Chippewa Falls EMS/fire chief in April 2014, one of his top goals was obtaining a new fire station that met the needs of the department. The existing station, connected to city hall, opened in 1952.
“I had my list of goals that I wanted to accomplish in my three to five years (as chief),” Hepfler said. “I started talking to council members and expressed my concerns about replacing the building.”
The Chippewa Falls City Council approved the $5 million project in spring 2015. Construction began in May 2016, and it opened in spring 2017. Hepfler, 60, announced this week he plans to retire in mid-July, after more than 30 years working in the city’s fire and EMS agency. Battalion chief Lee Douglas will be promoted to take his place. As chief, Hepfler oversees a department of 26 firefighter/EMTs and one office worker. All the firefighters except the chief and fire inspector work three 24-hour shifts over a nine-day work cycle.