SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This story has been updated with additional statements from the City.
Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is lending a hand to its fellow city department by assisting Public Works in their non-stop effort to fill potholes around the city.
We are 81 days into 2023, and so far city crews have responded to nearly 2,200 pothole reports, which is already more than were reported in the entire year of 2022.
With the increased workload, Public Works has put out the call for additional assistance. One who answered that call is Sioux Falls Master Firefighter Tim Schons.
“We received notice from Public Works that they were in need of individuals to help out their crews, just man-power wise,” Schons said. He chose to sign up to lend a hand.
“This winter season has been tough on our employees, budget, and roads in Sioux Falls. Potholes go hand-in-hand with fluctuating temperatures and moisture. Given we’ve had one of the snowiest seasons on record, our pothole numbers are greater than the average year,” explained Dustin Hansen, Sioux Falls’ Street Operations Manager.
Hansen also noted that crews are working 7-days a week to fill potholes, and expressed his gratitude for the Fire Department. “We appreciate the City departments coming together to find solutions that allow us to put more resources toward the issue.”
The main reason for Schons’ decision to sign up was a feeling of civic duty. “We are paid of course for working, but it is volunteer,” he said. “Public Works and the rest of the entities in the city help us during emergencies — well now they are in need of help and this gives us the opportunity to kind of return the favor — the ultimate goal is to help out the citizens.”
The job itself was pretty simple, according to Schons. “I’m partnered up with an experienced crew on how to do it, and they were really great about giving you the ins and outs of what needed to be done,” he said.
Being a firefighter, Schons had no difficulty with the aspects surrounding traffic safety when working on the street. “It’s just a matter of going out and doing it,” he remarked. “You simply grab a shovel and scoop it out, fill the hole — clean it up if you need to; hopefully getting it to stick as much as possible — and then packing it down.”
Schons feels good about the quality of work he did on his shift repairing streets, saying “I feel like I accomplished something at the end of the day.”
There is a lot of pothole work to do, and Schons says that the Public Works department is doing the best they can with what they have. One thing he recommended for anyone else looking to help out is to report potholes in your area through the city’s portal at siouxfalls.org/pothole.