Fire incidents, losses drop from 2010 to 2011The Jamestown Fire Department’s 2011 annual report indicates that total incidents and estimated fire loss were down from 2010. “The fire department and its volunteers do an excellent job for this city,” said Jeff Fuchs, city administrator. “The community should really be proud to have them serving on their behalf.”
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Fire Department’s 2011 annual report indicates that total incidents and estimated fire loss were down from 2010.
“The fire department and its volunteers do an excellent job for this city,” said Jeff Fuchs, city administrator. “The community should really be proud to have them serving on their behalf.”
JFD responded to a total of 225 incidents in 2011, a decrease from 307 in 2010.
The estimated fire loss in the city in 2011 was $383,102, about 81 percent of which took place in fires at two large single-family dwellings.
That total is down more than $600,000 from 2010’s reported losses.
Fire Chief Jim Reuther has been at the helm since July 2008 and he said the department’s hard work and dedication would not be possible without a great deal of help.
“I can’t commend enough all of our volunteers. Plus, we couldn’t have done any of this without the grants we have been provided, the help from the city and the help from the people of Jamestown,” he said.
JFD has 36 firefighters on staff, with plans to move to a 40-firefighter staff in the future, according to Reuther.
In addition, the 2011 report’s long-term plan mentions the possibility of adding a new fire station in 2015 near the Interstate 94 business park area. The estimated cost would be $848,000 to $1 million.
“Due to the increased building in the past 20-plus years in the southern part of the city, it is very important that our city considers an additional fire station,” the report said.
No official plans have been made for the new fire station.
Financially, the department received $187,258 in grants last year, including a city share of more than $4,000.
“We’re fortunate to have a great fire chief here who is effective at writing grants, which ultimately helps for some cost-saving measures for the city,” said Ramone Gumke, chair of the city’s Police and Fire Committee.
The Firefighters Assistance Grant, totaling nearly $88,000, provided for 38 sets of new personnel protection gear for each JFD firefighter, including coat, pants, helmet, boots and gloves.
“That was a great thing for us and it was something that we really needed,” Reuther said. “We had just been upgrading little by little with about four new sets each year, but getting everybody new protection gear is big for us.”
The remaining $99,288 in grant money came from the Homeland Security Grant, which provided a regional response command vehicle for the department.
The department was also active beyond fighting fires in 2011 with training programs, building/ facilities inspections, maintaining equipment and providing public education.
JFD amassed an average of 54 hours of training per firefighter, including required training for all firefighters twice each month.
In terms of equipment, Reuther said the department has about $1.5 million worth that requires year-round maintenance.
“It’s something that gets overlooked but I commend our mechanics for their work because all hours of the day, our equipment and our vehicles have to be ready for use no matter what the situation is,” he said.
JFD was also part of 72 public fire education programs in 2011, including 14 public tours and 14 fire prevention week programs for the first and third grades.
Reuther said the annual report reflects many of the things the public just simply isn’t aware of.
“There’s more to this job than some people think. We’re not just sitting here waiting for the bell to ring,” he said.
Reuther said he is excited for the department’s third annual Pancake Feed in July because it is held inside the fire station and gives him and other firefighters a chance to talk to the public.
“I’ve spoken with locals who have lived here for 20-plus years and never seen the inside of the station,” he said. “We like to let people know that we open up our doors and they’re welcome to come in any time to visit or ask questions during our business hours.”
The main station is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To contact the Jamestown Fire Department for non-emergencies, call 701-252-1441.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org