Ohio Firefighters Make Due With Temporary Station

April 22, 2013
Despite operating from a residential home while their fire station is replaced, Toledo firefighters say their response times remain acceptable.

April 22--Despite operating from a house on Brint Road while their firehouse is replaced, firefighters at Sylvania Station No. 1 say they are responding to emergencies in ample time.

On Friday morning, three firefighters occupied the house at Brint and McCord roads, ready to respond anywhere in Station No. 1's service area, which includes the city of Sylvania's historic downtown.

Except for shelves holding chemicals and cleaners, radios, and walkie-talkies, the building's furnishings look like a normal home's.

One of the three bedrooms has been designed to accommodate Lt. Chris Nye's office and a bed, while a speaker embedded above the door loudly projects dispatch chatter.

"We keep our gear and equipment outside on the truck," Lieutenant Nye said.

Response times are not delayed by that setup, he said, although donning gear is a bit cumbersome in wet weather.

"We go in the garage to change, and with the gravel driveway, it doesn't make it easy," he said.

Other than that, he did not see potential response delays.

Station No. 1, on Monroe Street, is in the heart of Sylvania's downtown business district.

Last year, firefighters there responded to 1,531 fire and rescue calls, while the Life Squad there had 2,049 runs. Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski said calls are increasing about 4 percent annually.

The Life Squad has temporarily moved to Station No. 3 on Whiteford Road.

Chief Kowalski acknowledged that fire response to downtown locations isn't quite as quick now as it would be from the firehouse, but the trip from Brint still takes less than 2 minutes, well within the 4 to 7 minutes the Sylvania Township Fire Department shoots for to reach anywhere in the community.

Station No. 1's temporary quarters are closer to areas of its assigned area south of downtown, so responses there could take a minute instead of the three needed before, the chief said.

Business owners on Main Street did not see a reason to worry.

"It doesn't affect us," said Lea MacLaren, general manager of the Wingate by Wyndham Hotel at Main and Monroe streets. "I think it is still close enough that it would service our needs, especially in the short term."

Jeffrey Stansley, who owns two buildings in the historic center, including one that houses Chandler's Cafe, said he was not concerned. "As far as response time, on any given day depending on how traffic was, it could take just as much time for them to reach us," he said.

The firefighters are waiting for Nov. 1, the target date to move into the new station.

The department is thankful to Lourdes University, which owns the home. "They have allowed us to live here as a courtesy during the construction phase of No. 1," Chief Kowalski said.

Copyright 2013 - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

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