11/20/09 390 W, 2 I - + 16 - 14 After Fighting Fires 39 Years, Falls Station May Close (Updated)

Thanks to our reader Paul, who found the online version of Wednesday's News & Observer story on the possible closure of the Falls Fire Department. The story appeared in the paper's Midtown section, and notes the Falls fire station is one of four1 that a recent evaluation shows could be closed to "save money and better use equipment by contracting more of its services to nearby municipal fire departments." Population growth, operating costs, and annexations are cited as the context. Falls firefighters and nearby residents believe "removing the department would do a disservice to the surrounding community."

Falls has been serving from their station since 19702. Their first pumper was Six Forks Fire Department's first pumper, in fact. But we digress. Residents of Bedford at Falls River recently collected donations for FFD, the article notes. And on the fire department's web site is a letter urging citizens to contact the county commissioners. The Fall Fire Chief is also quoted, and says the station's staff will soon petition the Wake County Fire Commission3. They have 50 volunteer and part-time staff members, and the station responds to about two calls a day.

The county Fire Marshal notes that "full-time staff and resources from stations that close would be transferred to other departments." However, Falls doesn't have full-time members. "We're looking at that data, too, and trying to fight this," says the Fire Chief. Read the article.

Takaaki Iwabu/News & Observer photo

1The four stations being evaluated for possible closure are Bay Leaf #3, Falls, New Hope #1, Western Wake. Read this prior posting for the last update on the closure process. It includes this presentation made to the Board of Commissioners.

2When did the other three stations being evaluated open? Bay Leaf #3 opened as Six Forks Fire Department in 1974, the department's fourth location since forming in 1956. New Hope #1 opened circa 1958, the department's second location after forming in 1956. Western Wake opened as Western Wake Station 1 in 1998, established as a merger of Fairgrounds and Yrac fire departments.

3Relevant to discussions of closures are the two TriData studies that have analyzed the county's fire service system. In fact, the 1994 study led to the creation of the fire commission. See this prior posting to learn about and read both studies.

Today’s News & Observer has a county-wide variation of this article, including quotes from the Western Wake Fire Chief: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local_s..
Legeros - 11/23/09 - 08:25

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