Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007
Officials mull requests for more fire stations
The Palmyra Road fire station has been closed since 1995.
BY AMANDA GARRETT
WARREN Council members and fire officials are weighing two councilmen's requests for fire stations in their wards.
Councilman James Pugh, D-6th, wants to reopen the station on Palmyra Road so residents who live in his ward which is part of Warren's southwest quadrant will have better response times to fires.
And Councilman Vincent Flask, D-5th, expressed concern that his ward in the southeast quadrant does not have a station, and asked them to consider opening one there.
The Palmyra Road station was closed in the early 1990s as a cost-saving measure, Nussle said. It is being used as a police storage facility.
The two stations that respond to fires in the southwest quadrant are on South Street and Parkman Road, and are on the north side of several railroad tracks that divide that part of town from the rest of Warren.
"The railroad tracks are a big safety hazard and safety should be our No. 1 concern," Pugh said at council's police and fire committee meeting Wednesday. "Right now, we're pressing our luck that we haven't had anybody die in a fire."
The train tracks block several key roads into the southwest quadrant, including Tod Avenue, Main Avenue and Austin Avenue, forcing firetrucks to drive farther to reach the fire.
So far, the southwest quadrant has not seen an increase in fatalities from the delay, Fire Chief Ken Nussle said.
Number of fatalities
Since 1997, the city has had 16 fire fatalities, none of those in the southwest quadrant, Nussle said. There were two fatalities in the northeast quadrant, two in the southeast quadrant and 12 in the northwest quadrant, the chief added.
Warren's other fire stations are on Parkman Road Northwest and Atlantic Street Northeast.
Studies done by the fire department have shown that some of the farthest outlying locations on Warren's eastern edge are vulnerable, with response times that can be as high as eight minutes, Nussle said.
The studies show the ideal place for another fire station would be at Youngstown Road Southeast and Ridge Avenue Southeast, Nussle said.
Councilwoman Susan Hartman, D-7th, cautioned that the city might not have enough revenue in the coming years to maintain an additional fire station. "Chief Nussle could open the fire station, and he would be a hero, but he wouldn't be a hero for long if we had to lay people off because of rising costs," she said. "We have to act prudently and do what is in best financial interests for the city."
Some of the costs would include fixing up or building a new fire station, buying a new firetruck and hiring more staff, Nussle said. The station would need three firefighters per shift.