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Published: Wednesday, 7/12/2006

Fire cooperation gets good marks


One month into an automatic mutual-aid agreement between the Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township fire departments, officials say the agreement has helped bring extra personnel to fight fires.

"So far it's done fairly well," Perrysburg Fire Chief Ronn Thompson said.

The agreement took effect June 1. That month, township firefighters were automatically called to three fires in the city, Perrysburg Township Deputy Fire Chief Tom Brice said.

On June 17, they joined city firefighters at the Perrys Crossing apartment complex fire that destroyed 10 apartments.

"That was the first test of the automatic aid agreement," Deputy Chief Brice said.

He said the department, which participates in a countywide mutual aid pact, probably would have been called for mutual aid had the automatic agreement not been in effect. Firefighters from Maumee assisted at that fire as well.

Under the mutual-aid agreement, when units arrive at the scene of a fire, they can call for additional resources from other jurisdictions if they are needed.

With the automatic aid agreement, however, the dispatcher first sends out one department, and then he sends out the other. That gets more firefighters to the fire faster, Deputy Chief Brice said.

A few days after the Perrys Crossing blaze, a lightning strike ignited the attic of a house in the city. Firefighters from the city and township responded.

"It went very well," Deputy Chief Brice said. "We were able to get a sufficient number of personnel to the scene in a timely fashion."

Chief Thompson said that when a fire is reported, it is easier for an extra unit to respond and then be told that it isn't needed than for firefighters to arrive and then call for extra help.

"If they are already on the way, then they're that much further ahead," Chief Thompson said.

A third fire in June was small enough that township firefighters were not needed, Deputy Chief Brice said.

The departments expect to have about the same number of automatic aid runs in the city and in the township, Chief Thompson said.

In 2005, the city received mutual aid in seven fires and rendered mutual aid to other departments at six fires, according to the department's annual report.

The city is a member of mutual aid agreements in Lucas and Wood counties.

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