Idyllwild fire station gets remodel thanks to donations

Idyllwild fire station gets remodel thanks to donations

IDYLLWILD, Calif. - Sheila Zacker saw firsthand how much the Idyllwild fire station needed fixing up.

She lived here during last year's mountain fire and manned the phones while the rest of the town evacuated.

"It was horrible. It was unacceptable living conditions. I said we gotta do something, you put your lives on the line every day, you can't live like this," Zacker said.

The fire station hadn't been updated since it was built more than three decades ago and it was beginning to show.  Yet the firefighters never complained.

"The floor was peeling up, the cabinets were coming off," Zacker said.

"It just was long overdue. And our folks live here 24 hours per day," said Fire Chief Patrick Reitz.

When the people returned home after evacuations were lifted, Zacker says the calls didn't stop. But now they were calling for another reason.

"They go, 'how can we help the firefighters,' and I said no food please what you can do is donate money. We need a remodel desperately," she said.

The donations came pouring in, $37,000 worth and paid for upgrades including a brand new kitchen, new floors, dining set, flat screen TV and mattresses.

"They sleep like a log now they slept on garage sale beds before," Zacker said.

"This has been a tremendous outpouring. I think it shows the value not only of the fire department but the value the community," Reitz said.

The special unveiling of the new station celebrated the anniversary of the town's return after the fire.  The community saw the remodel firsthand and had a chance to thank the firefighters for risking their lives everyday.

"It's important that they know they're supported by us and we care about how they're doing when they're here resting," said Derrick Zimmerman, whose family has lived in Idyllwild for more than 35 years.

"When you have your downtime, to be able to rest and rest comfortably and know that your needs are taken care of,it's just very important," Reitz said.

It goes to show even the bravest among us know there's no place like home.

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