LETTER: It’s time to put the money in the budget for a Northwest engine company.

Submitted by Gerald Anderson, Chair, RTM District 10

There is a misconception circulating that the long awaited Town-wide fire study did not recommend a new fire station in the Northwest part of town.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The study, commissioned at a cost of $100,000, confirmed what the Town itself has long known – that a professionally staffed, engine company is needed in the woefully underserved Northwest area because response times are way too long.

Specifically the study’s author Matrix Consulting recommended, as a first step, the Town: “replace the Round Hill [volunteer] station to house career personnel at a cost of approximately $5.08 million” and “[a]add a career staffed engine company … once the renovation is complete to improve the overall response time and personnel concentration to the northern areas of the Town.

The Northwest, which in addition to being home to thousands of Town residents, also includes schools, health care facilities, businesses and churches.

The Northwest’s commercial and residential areas continue to grow, as does the risk of loss. Residents in this district pay the largest share of Town taxes. Yet when it comes to fire services, their response times are routinely close to 10 minutes and in some areas over 15. (The Town strives for a four minute response time.) 

Upgrading the Round Hill station will not only help those in the Northwest. It will help other districts whose fire resources must currently cover not only their own areas but who are called away to cover the Northwest as well, leaving their areas at increased risk.

It’s budget time. And a new civic center in Old Greenwich, a new ice rink and enhanced parks may well be in order. But adding a new engine company – now, not some “tomorrow” which never seems to come – is a matter of life and death and must be a priority for the Town.

The Town has planned to do this for decades and the expert we paid has confirmed the need. It’s time to put the money in the budget for a Northwest engine company.

Gerald Anderson
Chair, RTM District 10