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Jasper Highlands, owned by Thunder Enterprises, launched construction today on a new fire station for the mountaintop community near Kimball.

The privately funded $500,000 fire station atop Jasper Mountain in Marion County will include four fire engines, equipment storage and adequate room to facilitate various training opportunities. Additionally, the fire station will include a community room that will serve as a welcoming forum and meeting place for residents who wish to become more involved in the department.

The fire station groundbreaking today marks the first year of operation for the the volunteer fire department, which earned an ISO Class 4 rating. Both the ISO rating and fire department-based medical assistance were the first of their kind in Marion County.

“The Jasper Highlands Fire Department has put in hours of training in order to provide our community the best protection possible and has exceeded all of our expectations,” said John Thornton, owner and developer of Jasper Highlands and CEO of Thunder Enterprises. “Our volunteer fire fighters have gone above and beyond for our home and property owners and we are proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Building the fire department, providing the best trucks and equipment available and building a fire station has always been our top priority, and we are proud to be moving ahead of schedule to construct this state of the art facility.”

In addition to the fire station and community center, the the fire department has purchased a wildland fire vehicle to enhance protection on the Mountain from grass and wildland fires.

James Wessel is president of the fire department.

Jasper Highlands’ community includes more than 8,893 acres of mountaintop landscape with scores of occupied homes and many more are under construction.