Sen. Al Franken Tours Virginia Fire Hall

City Officials Hope to Build New Public Safety Building Soon

VIRGINIA, Minn. – Minnesota Senator Al Franken was on the Iron Range today and took a tour of the aging Virginia Fire Hall, a place city leaders hope can be replaced with a new building.

The Virginia Fire Hall is 109 years old.

“It was originally designed to house horses and horse drawn steam pumpers and in that time, not a lot has changed as far as the actual building and its age,” said Virginia Fire Chief Allen Lewis.

The city’s fire department is asked to do a lot more than fight fires.

“They are paramedics, they provide emergency health care, they’re the first responders in that area as well,” said Sen. Franken during his tour.

That’s why Virginia officials hope to build a new public safety building.

“Which would include both police and fire. It would also house our emergency operations center and it would also have public training facility, not just for first responders but also for community members,” said Chief Lewis.

The tour of the current facility focused on advancements made in firefighting and why infrastructure improvements are vital for emergency services to continue their work.

“We need to have new infrastructure in this country and, as far as I’m concerned, in terms of public safety, that’s one of the places that I think everyone in congress can agree on,” said Franken.

The fire chief hopes the senator’s visit will bring more attention to their efforts to raise funds for the new building.

While he was on the Iron Range, Senator Franken also met with officials from the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency to lead a discussion on how President Trump’s proposed budget could affect local community agencies.

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