Back in March 2019, Mickie Foltz of Masury confronted township officials about the repeated closings of Station 51, the fire station at Addison Road, Broadway Avenue and Route 82.
She noted that voters had approved a levy to build that station.
“We’re not getting what we paid for, what the levy was passed for,” Foltz said.
Fast forward to Aug. 7 of this year, and the complaints about Station 51 being closed – 41 out of 62 shifts in July, 53 out of 60 shifts in June, 27 out of 62 shifts in May – are still coming in, said Trustee Dan Suttles.
Arguing that Masury is better served from Station 51 than the main fire station, Station 18 on Route 7, Suttles asked Fire Chief David Masirovits to use creative thinking to come up with ways to keep Station 51 open, but Masirovits said he’s done all he can think of.
The fire contract allowed for the hiring of an extra full-time firefighter with the possibility of another one each of the next two years; part-time pay has been increased; part-timers are allowed to come in for a partial shift; and emergency medical technicians who are not certified firefighters are allowed to work shifts when only two firefighters are working. Still, the sign stating “FIRE STATION CLOSED TODAY” hangs in the Station 51 front window more often than not.
Masirovits said he’s tapped out of ideas.
“I’ve struggled for five years now trying to figure that out,” he said.
If three or fewer people are working, they man Station 18, and Station 51 is closed, Masirovits said.
“The only reason that station is closed and the headquarters (Station 18) isn’t closed is, and we’re not rotating people is, because we have the resources up here (Station 18) that are required to respond throughout the district – the ladder truck, the tanker, the rescue, the grass fire truck, the backup ambulance – all those are critical at any given point in time,” Masirovits said. “If I move manpower down there (Station 51), I have to move all the equipment down there, too.”
Masirovits has talked about reducing the need for so many vehicles – he had applied for federal funding to buy a truck that has the capabilities of a ladder truck and a rescue truck – but that is a long-term transition.
“Believe me, I would love to have that station open,” Masirovits said. “I just don’t see any practical way of doing it. If I bring the resources down there, not just the manpower, but the vehicles, and we receive a call in the community and we leave, we don’t have a place to house those vehicles for security purposes. The ladder sits out or the tanker sits out or the rescue sits out or the brush fire. There’s only three bays in that station.”