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Local fire departments aggressively pursue additional funding

Dave Loebsack toured the Packwood, Iowa volunteer fire department on September 18, 2017 (Chris Arbino/KTVO).

The city of Ottumwa is struggling to figure out just how big its fire department needs to be.

The fire department says that it needs to have its three open positions filled or fire protection will suffer.

Providing fire protection is something all southeast Iowa communities struggle with.

In Packwood, the volunteer department works hard to cover huge chunk of southeast Iowa with 28 volunteers and an $18,000 budget.

That area increases thanks to mutual aid agreements with six other departments.

So how do they make it work? By aggressively pursuing grants that help generate revenue for the small department.

In fact, that approach helped purchase the new tanker truck the department was showcasing for congressman Dave Loebsack this afternoon.

In Ottumwa Tuesday evening, city council will hold their vote regarding the hire of three additional firefighters.

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