Bazetta keeping promise to staff two fire stations

BAZETTA – Township officials made good on a promise to have the McCleary Jacoby No. 13 Fire Station back up and running by the start of June, after being closed in January.

Trustees promised to reopen the station at their meeting on May 14 when residents, headed by Betty Adgate, complained that they felt like their “half” of the township was not adequately covered by the fire department.

“I couldn’t be happier. I have to give real credit to (Trustee) Paul Hovis and Trustee Urcheck,” said Adgate of the reopening.

Bazetta has two fire stations, as the township is essentially split in half by the Mosquito Creek Reservoir. The No. 11 Station on Everett Hull Road takes care of the west side of the township, while the No. 13 Station cares for the east side.

Don Urchek said to get the station back up “just required re-adjusting schedules” of the firefighters. The department employs nine full-time firefighters, nine part-timers and the chief.

Fire Chief Dennis Lewis said the No. 13 Station will be staffed part-time by two firefighters from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., as will the No. 11 Station. At approximately 4 p.m., the firefighters from No. 13 will join the others at No. 11.

Fiscal Officer Rita Drew said this is the first time in her four years with the township that both stations are being manned simultaneously. Typically, she said they were each run for a six month period – one through the summer and the other through the winter – in order to cut costs on heating and air conditioning, among other operating expenses.

The first month of having the two stations open will be a sort of trial period financially, Lewis said. At the end of the month, he said the hours would not decrease at either station, but there may be adjustments made to save money or even increase staffing.

Closing the No. 13 Station was due in part to the township’s plan to open a new centralized station on Warren Meadville Road near the intersection of state Route 305 – near the southern end of the Mosquito Creek Reservoir.

In February 2012, the township paid $7,000 for a yearlong contract with the option of purchasing the plot for the station. However, the plans came to a standstill in the summer of 2012 as trustees became wary about taking out a loan to cover the building costs.

Most recently, on Jan. 15, the township decided to purchase the land with $150,000 from its general fund.

Drew said the fire department continues to save money to put into the cost of a new building and is talking with architects about how to cut costs further.