Fire Chief Gene Doherty said for the first time this week that he is open to opening the Pines Fire Station in the near future – a station that has been shuttered against the wishes of the neighborhood since 1992.
Doherty told the Council that the Fire Department has allocated some money to fix up the old station and to get it ready for use and a re-opening in the next few years.
“You do have to have a plan and I think that’s something that we’ll have to do in the next couple of years,” he said on Monday. “That station closed in 1992 and it was a numbers game at that time, but the population and numbers of households are increasing in that area. The Mayor and I have had conversations and at a certain point when development starting taking off, it is going to be necessary to open it in the coming years. We have allocated some money to get it ready to go and be prepared to hopefully open it.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he was happy to finally hear the station is being considered – something he has long called for.
“I’m on the same page as the Fire Chief certainly,” he said. “Our population has increased 10 percent in the last 10 years and probably even more since the station has been closed. There are more motor vehicles and more medical emergencies. Response times are definitely increased when you talk about high-rises because they have to get on the elevator…I’m grateful that this is finally the goal.”
The Fire Department does use the station for limited deployments and for training, but it does not have an engine company assigned to it.