In the past 20 years, the Town has built or rebuilt a fire station in every part of town except in the Northwest region.After addressing the needs of all other districts, First Selectman Peter Tesei put money in the budget for the northwest area in 2016. The BET approved it, but the RTM voted it down. In 2018, after RTM District 10 members educated the community about the need, the RTM passed a resolution concerning the inadequate fire protection in the Northwest area, and the First Selectman and BET again appropriated funds. Prior to doing so, then First Selectman Peter Tesei and the Greenwich Fire Department devoted a substantial amount of time and resources providing data demonstrating the need for and cost of professional coverage and a new station in the Northwest. Click here for links to their responses. By a narrow margin, the RTM again deleted the necessary funds to proceed, this time saying that a town-wide fire study should be conducted first. Read on to see what the consultants said.
THE RTM OPPONENTS SAID: • People knew when they moved to northwest Greenwich that they wouldn’t have the same coverage as the rest of Town and they have no claim to the same. But when most people move to Greenwich, they do not imagine they are getting inadequate fire protection and do not ask. Like you, they assume they are protected. • Volunteers at the Round Hill Volunteer Fire Station can do the job. But volunteers cannot commit to shifts and they have other commitments on their time, including full time employment. • Half of the area around the proposed King Street location is in New York state. But half of the areas around some other Greenwich fire stations are actually in the water and/or in other towns. The "circle" as it is called is not a good barometer for the best location. •People should have fire detectors and alarm systems and not need fire fighters. Seriously? •No one has died in a fire in northwest Greenwich, so why do they need a station? Sadly, past performance is not an indicator of a future event and the fire department services a myriad of emergencies, including car accidents. •Schools, nursing homes, and businesses have sprinkler systems and don’t need firefighters. Smoke inhalation requires evacuation by professionals, particularly those who are young, elderly, or infirm. •Adding career firefighters would cost too much. Failing to add career firefighters could cost far, far more.
WHAT THE CONSULTANTS SAID The Matrix Study, finished in 2020, found that, regardless of whatever other changes the Town made to improve fire safety, fire needs in the Northwest part of town warrant a professionally staffed engine company. Why? Distance. Fire resources are simply located too far from where they need to be in an emergency. The average response time for the Northwest is almost 11 minutes. That means that half of the response times are over 11 minutes, upwards of over 15. Yet the First Selectman and the Board of Estimate put nothing in the 2021-22 budget to implement these recommendations.