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Ottawa Hills fire station could close temporarily

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The Ottawa Hills fire station could be closed and its firefighters relocated to other stations during a six-month trial run of a plan designed to improve emergency responses.

In 2010, Ottawa Hills and the city of Toledo agreed to let the village disband its fire department and merge firefighters into the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department. Daily, the Ottawa Hills station — Station 15 — has three firefighters manning its rescue vehicle and two medics on Life Squad, said Pvt. Sterling Rahe with the fire department.

The temporary changes that officials are discussing would close Station 15, at 2125 Richards Road, and move each of its three firefighters to different stations. The move would allow three other engines within the department to be staffed by four firefighters instead of three, Private Rahe said.

That way, when an engine responds to a fire, two people could work the hose and command center outside and two people could go inside to fight the fire, he said.

With only three people currently on an engine, none of them is allowed to enter a burning building until more personnel arrive, per the department’s policy, Private Rahe said.

Both the village’s and city’s councils would have to agree to amend the current contract, Private Rahe said. If the change is approved, a tentative start date is scheduled for Oct. 1. After six months, if both councils are satisfied with the arrangement, then it could be made permanent.

If the change goes through, emergency service to Ottawa Hills won’t change, he said. Last year, outlying stations responded to 60 percent of calls from the village.

“The way we operate, we always send the closest rig,” he said.

There were 280 calls for service in 2017 reported for Ottawa Hills, said Marc Thompson, village administrator for Ottawa Hills, which amounted to less than one per day.

Mr. Thompson said he and other officials believe the village will continue to receive excellent service from the fire department if the contract is amended, although the decision is ultimately up to the council.

Discussions about amending the contract in this capacity began about three months ago, he said.

“We have been very pleased with the service provided by the city of Toledo,” he said. “It is a top notch — and I mean very top notch — fire department.”

Contact Kate Snyder at ksnyder@theblade.com, 419-724-6282 or on Twitter @KL_Snyder

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