Sunday, June 17, 2001

Colerain seeks firehouse site

Chief hopes it could open by end of 2002

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — Fire Chief Bruce Smith wants to put up one sign next month: “Future site of Colerain Township Fire Station No. 5.”

        It is a goal he has been trying to reach since trustees approved the department's five-year master plan and voters last fall approved a 4.34-mill levy. After reviewing six locations in the township's northeast corridor, the chief said he is talking with two property owners in the Pleasant Run area, and hopes to announce a site for the firehouse by the end of July.

        “Our goal would be to begin construction around the first of the year and have it done by the end of 2002,” Chief Smith said.

        Plans call for a three-bay station with living quarters, offices, workout room, kitchen and other amenities to support six to eight firefighters, although initial plans call for no more than four people assigned to any one shift. The cost for such a facility is estimated at $1.2 million to $1.4 million.

        Adding a fifth station would improve response time for fire and emergency medical service. Average response time in the township has risen from 4.5 minutes in 1992 to 6.5 minutes for fire calls and up to 7 minutes for medical calls.

        The department made 4,346 fire and medical runs in 1990 and 7,360 in 1998, an increase of 69 percent. By year's end, the department is projected to have responded to between 7,500 and 8,000 calls.

        Compared with other departments, Colerain has few stations, Chief Smith said. With 45 square miles, Colerain is the largest township in the state. Among the state's 2,251 cities and townships, it ranks 15th in population, about 60,000, and seventh in land. Yet much smaller townships, such as Springfield and Green, also have four stations. Springfield Township covers 20 square miles and Green, 29.

        In comparison, Cincinnati has 75 square miles and 26 fire stations.

        Along with a fifth station, the department has plans to expand Fire Station No. 3 on Springdale Road, near Thompson Road, at a cost of $200,000 to $300,000.

        Living quarters would be expanded from 500 square feet to 2,500 square feet that would include separate rooms for sleeping, offices, fitness equipment, a kitchen, day room and showers. The expanded station would provide enough space for six people.

        Trustee Joseph Wolterman said township officials are putting together a bond package to pay for the expansion, fifth fire station and equipment for the station. Bonds would be paid back from proceeds of the fire department's 1988 and 2000 levies, which together bring in about $8.3 million.


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