Study recommends replacement of Strathroy fire station
Strathroy Age Dispatch
 
The replacement of Strathroy-Caradoc’s Zimmerman Street fire station is being recommended as part of a fire station location study.
 
The study was presented to councillors during the Nov. 15 regular council meeting and recommended the station be replaced in no later than six years, and that it should be considered the “highest priority” for replacement due to its high call demand and its function as a headquarters.
 
The fire department moved into the Zimmerman Street station in 1975, and the building was previously being used as a manufacturing plant. Since then, it’s seen three expansions and renovations, though a 1990 review recommended the station’s replacement. Though it’s currently used as the fire department’s headquarters, the study said the building lacks proper heating, ventilation, and an HVAC system, and its construction can potentially hide structural issues.
 

According to the study there are two potential sites which could be used for the construction of a new station. A new station could be built on at the station’s current location on Zimmerman Street, or the location could be moved to Frances Street north of the Strathroy police station, which could allow for the sharing of various amenities such as meeting rooms, fitness facilities and secure parking facilities.

It was estimated that both locations could provide similar call response times, though there is a “small but real” risk of delays due to trains if the Frances Street location is chosen.

Of the municipality’s current three fire stations, the Strathroy station on Zimmerman Street received 175 calls in 2020, more than the Mt. Brydges and Melbourne stations combined. The entire department received nearly 300 calls in 2020, though those numbers are expected to increase in a “steady, but not overwhelming” way as there is a growth in households, rising to as much as 375 calls annually by 2031 in a “high growth scenario” in the municipality.

Looking at longer-term issues, the study also recommended the construction of a new station within 10 years on Glendon Drive between Christina Road and Rougham Road, which would service Mount Brydges and Melbourne.

The fire station location study was presented alongside the final fire master plan, which includes a broader range of additional recommendations to be addressed in the next three years such as the hiring of a full-time fire prevention officer as well as a deputy chief/training officer, the replacement of several vehicles, using cellphone apps to track firefighter availability and response, a review of firefighter physical expectations and more.

“I think with the growth of our community, with infrastructure and residential and everything that is going on, to be safe, to have the men and women in our fire department safe, to make everyone in our community, this is an important master plan to look over,” said Coun. Sandi Hipple. “This is really exciting.”

“I’ve really got to take my hat off to the firemen and their dedication to the service because that comes at quite a personal sacrifice,” said Coun. Steve Pelkman. “While most of us are having family time, they’re out running calls. It’s a heck of a burden on them, and I really want to thank them for their service to the community.”

 

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