HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – For the first time since 2004, the Howland Township Fire Station in the Bolindale area will be staffed for nine hours a day, including weekends.
Station 31 on Ridge Road sat vacant for 12 years.
“If something happens over here, we have to wait for them to come clear across from Howland,” said resident Kelli Semenko.
With a lot of work and over a decade later, that all changed on Friday when the Bolindale station reopened.
“This has been months and actually, years, of planning,” Chief James Pantalone said.
Semenko says it’s reassuring to know that fire crews will be closer, staffed with two people every day from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We went back and did some statistical analysis on where our call volume was, what are our peak hours and how we can utilize what budget we have to make the biggest impact,” Pantalone said.
It will shave minutes off the fire department’s response times, while staying within its budget.
“Townships have taken a big hit with tangible personal property tax reductions. The fire department this year alone took a nearly $100,000 hit in decrease in budget, but we were able to keep our expenditures in line and still achieve our goal at opening that station,” he said.
“I think that the necessity of safety is more important than anything, really. I mean, you can’t put a price on that,” Semenko said.
Pantalone says this is only a starting point.
“We would like, in the future, years, like to open it up 24 hours, but it’s going to take some time to get there and look at alternative funding mechanisms and other ways of doing it.”
The department will evaluate call data each quarter and make adjustments as needed.