07-03-2009, 08:54 AM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
New Jersey Firehouse Ordered Closed (front Page Stuff)
WOW! Hey George, this is your Neck O The Woods, right? There is part of the story on the front page, but I found this one in the NJ news. Check out the Comments at the end. As with anything, there are always a large number of poorly informed people. Of course there is always three sides to a story.
Greystone Park firehouse to close after 115 years
by Lawrence Ragonese/The Star-Ledger Monday June 29, 2009, 6:26 PM
PARSIPPANY -- A 115-year run for the Greystone Park Fire Department has ended.
The seven remaining firefighters at the state psychiatric hospital in Parsippany have been told to pack up their belongings, including two pumper trucks, and abandon the original Greystone firehouse by Wednesday.
The five full-time and two part-time firefighters will set up shop inside the new Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. Fire departments in neighboring towns, particularly Parsippany, Morris Township and Morris Plains, will now be first responders to actual blazes since Greystone will no longer have operating fire trucks.
Greystone's revamped fire department, which will include a new chief, will be stationed in an office in the new state hospital, said Ellen Lovejoy, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services. The fire trucks will likely be moth-balled as surplus vehicles, while two smaller fire vehicles, including a chief's car and utility truck containing some firefighting apparatus, will remain on site, she said.
The Greystone fire team will respond to "fire events" inside the hospital and be responsible for fire safety education, drills, safety inspections and maintaining fire equipment, including all fire extinguishers and the hospital's fire suppression system.
Mutual aid arrangements with local companies from Parsippany and neighboring towns, including Morris Township, Morris Plains, Denville and Randolph are in place to deal with larger fires, state officials said.
Greystone's firehouse opened in 1894 with horse-drawn wagons. It served a massive state hospital that had thousands of patients and employees living in a self-contained city filled with dozens of structures on a sprawling campus that also had its own post office, farm and trolley stop.
A new 450,000-square-foot Greystone, with adjacent cottages, that houses nearly 500 patients opened last year on a hill overlooking the abandoned old campus, which is a virtual ghost town except for the fire department. State officials said the changing hospital necessitated a change in fire-fighting delivery.
The new hospital has a modern sprinkler system and fire extinguishers, plus "crash carts" on each floor with high-rise hose packs and breaking and prying tools.
"We wanted the firemen in this building to address fire issues in a proactive way ... training, fire safety inspections, rounds," Lovejoy said, adding that most fire-related incidents at the new hospital are expected to occur inside the new structure.
Greystone's fire team was a mostly glum crew today, complying with orders to move and give up their fire trucks. The were especially unhappy the pumper trucks were to be parked for now in the circular drive outside the new hospital, unprotected from inclement weather.
"It's a joke what they're doing here. Fact is, I don't think they know what they're doing," said one firefighter who spoke privately for fear of being reprimanded by the hospital administration.
But state officials say they have properly planned for the hospital's changing firefighting needs, including briefing officials from local departments
The old Greystone firehouse, like the rest of the abandoned old Greystone hospital, will be turned over to the state Treasury Department for possible sale or other uses.
Posted by jmjral on 06/29/09 at 6:41PM. I seem to have missed the part about how many of these folks were being let go.
You do not need trained firefighters to do "training, fire safety inspections, rounds".
Sounds like nice work, if you can get it.
Posted by Imaginos on 06/29/09 at 7:01PM
Meanwhile the local communities have to pick up the tab of actually fighting the fires, while the state pays zero taxes for the local community services that greystone uses
Posted by dwntwnlocal on 06/29/09 at 7:23PM
WOW what a job. The have seven firefighters and how many officers? What a big waste of money. This is the best kept secret in the fire service.This firehouse should be dissolved and the men assigned to other departments.
Posted by randyright on 06/29/09 at 7:57PM
how are the taxpaying citizens of the communities that are supposed provide volunteers being reimbursed? let the state provide the services or let the place burn down! you can bet if greystone was in irvington, newark or camden they would not have closed it.
Posted by thinkbig on 06/29/09 at 9:19PM
....and how many hospitals have their own fire deparments?
Posted by njdevilmoco on 06/29/09 at 9:56PM
Posted by hoochieman on 06/30/09 at 8:36AM
The New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morristown. Now that is what the story should start off with; Lunatics! So, the firefighters were glum? They fear reprimands from the hospital administration? The same administration that is on the take from the state? I don't think they have to worry about anything. They have been protecting rock buildings from fires that won't happen for, potentially thier whole career. The last fire at Greystone of any significance I could find was in 1930. If they wanted to be fireman they would be a work in a city that has fires. In this case they are overtrained, underworked state employees that are just waiting for thier pension like most of the other sloths. I think they could find a fire inspection service to cover the fire extinguisher inspections. As far as drills and education, I think that if someone hears a fire bell they start to move to an exit and get outta da building! Let us see; seven guys with pensions and healthcare plus salary and overtime. Overtime because you can never have enough fire education.
Maybe a million a year for these guys once you add it all in? On second thought what's a million these days. Let them stay. Let them Stay!
Posted by hoochieman on 06/30/09 at 8:46AM
A Greystone psych patient came back from therapy and found his room on fire, rushed next door, telephoned the fire department and shouted, "Hurry over here. My room is on fire!"
"OK," replied the fireman, "how do we get there?"
"Say, don't you still have those big red trucks?"
The Grestone fireman says, "Nope."
Posted by grimreap on 06/30/09 at 5:06PM
and how many of you posters have volunteered or worked and trained to fight fire or actually fought a fire???
yeah that's what i thought...
don't care what the outside of the building is made of, it's the stuff inside that will burn. when any of you decide to give firefighting a try then you can start complaining. having these people on premise will help in the event of a fire. they are still fire fighters. i don't know of any that wouldn't pick up a hose if the need arose...
yeah. don't worry about the thousands of appointed (re: my buddy needed a job) government employees or other wasteful practices... lets instead worry about the peons, underlings and other inconsequential things you people worry about... this is why your state is so messed up.
07-03-2009, 09:56 AM #2
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- Jan 2003
- Canuck Expat May be anywhere
07-03-2009, 10:45 AM #3
I knew a gentleman who worked there until he passed away recently. Very colorful person, to say the least!
There's a lot of history here.
I don't know how much George will comment on this (like he'll hold back), but there was a training incident involving one of their live burn "props" a few years ago. I know George did this investigation for the County.
This was a huge and pretty infamous pysch hospital (campus is more descriptive). The buildings were ancient and actually kind of beautiful.
Anywhere that people are locked down I think it's appropriate to have emergency people standing by for fires, even if they don't have apparatus. In Jails, I'm sure the CO's take on this function, but it's a lot to ask nurses and aides at a psych hospital.
It's sad for Greystone, but with their new facilities, it's probably not critical that they have apparatus. They are surrounded by some very capable and well equipped departments.
Last edited by ChiefKN; 07-03-2009 at 10:51 AM.I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.
"The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."
"When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."
07-03-2009, 02:58 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Flanders, NJ
I was wondering if this was going to hit here. Don't everybody get all in an uproar.
Let's break this down piece by piece.
This facility has been around for way over 100 years. At one time, the main building was the biggest building (floor area wise) in the country. It got knocked to second place when the Pentagon was built. Back in the day, this facility housed, or more accurately warehoused, thousands of patients. Much of the staff, including the fire chief, were at one time housed on the property. The property had a huge working farm where they grew much of the food for the hospital. They had their own PD. It was as big, land wise, as many towns.
They had a fire department. The fire department had limited paid staff, supplemented by volunteers from the staff. Many of the volunteers were actually housed in the firehouse. They had a few engines. There were more fires than you think. Of course, fire protection systems weren't prevalent back then and, even if they were, they were not going to be wasted on the mentally ill (prevailing wisdom of the day).
Beginning in the late 1970's, the method of providing mental health care began to change. So did Greystone. They cut way back on the number of patients housed there, in favor of outpatient treatment and cottages aimed at allowing these folks to get back to some normal semblance of life. Because of this, they did not need as many of the buildings. They stopped housing on campus. They shut down the farm. What the succeeded in doing was creating a scary morass of mostly vacant buildings.
The buildings where they did house patients were upgraded with modern fire protection systems. The staff was trained on first aid fire fighting. There were far fewer fires.
However, the operation of the Greystone Park FD really hadn't changed much since the early 1900's. Eventually, the career staff was cut back to 1 or maybe 2 guys on duty. The volunteer staff of hospital employees was virtually non-existent. Every single fire incident beyond an incipient stage fire required mutual aid response.
About 10 years ago, the State of NJ decided that Greystone Hospital, in its present state, had outlived its usefulness. They adopted a plan that called for abandoning virtually all of the buildings on the campus and erecting a huge, state of the art, hospital. This hospital is, to my knowledge, fully sprinklered and is equipped with the latest fire protection features. The remainder of the buildings and land was sold at a minimum price to Morris County. They are currently developing a park on most of the land and are developing one or two of the buildings into a "social services campus" where all of the county's social service agencies will be housed to provide centralized service. The vasy majority of the property is no longer starte property.
Chief KN is correct. The hospital is virtually surrounded by very well equipped, very well manned and very, very competent volunteer (one is combo) FD's. I'm estimating, but I think that there are at least 9 engines, 3 trucks, 3 rescues and a USAR task force within 5 minutes response time.
In short, there is no need for a FD on the campus anymore. (Police functions are handled by the NJ Human Services PD, which is a statewide agency). As far as I know, these guys were not laid off. But there jobs are now more prevention and protection than they were before.
The hospital admin did not give a crap about the FD anyway. The last fire I investigated up there was actually in the fire house. The same gentleman Chief KN referred to was on duty alone and asleep in a third floor bunk room when a fire broke out in a first floor storage room in a bank of batteries (1930's vintage) used to power an antiquated box alarm system. That gentleman somehow awakened to a building full of smoke (no fire detection of any kind in the building) and managed to radio to a mutual aid department to come help. He damn near died.
The hospital also didn't watch the FD either. The report attached by Chief KN says it all. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not author that report, but provided much of the information in it, as well as collaborated in the initial draft. I authored an extensive investigative article on the incident that many of you have read: ("New Jersey Training Burn; Real-life Lessons". Fire
Engineering Magazine, March 1994, pps. 42-50.).
I hope this clears this issue up. It is not what it appears to be on the surface.PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.
07-03-2009, 03:18 PM #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
Thanks George, and as I alluded to at the beginning, you have provided a "second side" to the story.
In my opinion, its always sad to loose a piece of history, as Greystone very obviously is but sometimes it is for the best.If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)
"I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD
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Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!
impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto
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07-06-2009, 09:07 AM #6
From reading the news story, as well as the post by George, it surpises me that it took this long to dissolve this fire department.
My father worked for a state hospital fire department until the mid-1990s when the department was disbanded and firefighting duties were given to the surroudning city fire department. In perspective, the hospital fire department was equipped with an engine and a brush truck. Not sure of staffing but I would say 2-3 personnel per shift. So any incident that had any real substance would require mutual aid anyway.
When the department was disbanded, just like in this situation, my father and some of the fire fiighters were assigned protection and prevention duties. He stayed in this position until 2008 when he left to persue other career ventures,
It could be worse. They could be out of a job. With the budget cuts in today's economy, they should consider themselves lucky.
07-06-2009, 12:12 PM #7
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- Sep 1999
- I don't know but I here laughing.
I just drove through there last week. That place is HUGE. Its weird to see all the abandon buidlings across the street.
MTFD Station 4 is right down the street with 1 engine, 1 truck and their rescue.This space for rent
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