Closing the Pleasant Hill Fire Station is a decision all of Falmouth should be concerned about. The proposed closure results in a reduction in overall safety.
The presentation at the public hearing by Fire Chief Rice supports the closing of Engine 3 Station. The Pleasant Hill Neighborhood Association learned that night the station had already been removed from the budget. Undisclosed in the presentation or the budget is the plan to take our engine and put it on the Foreside, reducing engines in Falmouth from four to three.
The rationale for removing Engine 3 Station is the proximity of Portland’s Ladder 4 (Northgate). That station responded to 1,200 calls last year. When a call comes Ladder 4’s engine may be otherwise engaged. When there is increased demand during dry fire seasons, ice storms, and other factors in Falmouth, there will be increased demand everywhere. We don’t control what stations Portland decides to keep open, including Ladder 4. Currently, Portland City Manager says that 14 public safety jobs are on the line.
If Engine 4 (Winn Road) is held 15 minutes by a train crossing at Falmouth and Leighton roads., it will leave response to Pleasant Hill and Central Falmouth up to Portland’s Ladder 4 (maybe). As our former fire chief and Portland firefighter, Freeman Cleaves put it, “Renumbering Engine 3 to another station may provide some budgetary savings over the next few years, but at what cost to the property owners of Allen Avenue and the Pleasant Hill area?”