Streamwood closes fire station; moves crews into other two

Published: 4/20/2010 12:42 PM

For years, Streamwood has been talking about shuffling firefighters out of the station on Park Boulevard. Starting this month, the fire department went forward with the plan.

Firefighters at the station at 1204 S. Park Blvd. have been shifted to the department's other two stations. The move allows Streamwood to staff an extra firefighter onboard the fire department's two fire engines at its other two stations, officials said.

The Park Boulevard station will be used for equipment storage, and firefighters will continue to conduct training exercises at the site.

The two other stations will cover the territories that Park Boulevard station used to cover. Officials said residents shouldn't worry about response times.

"First off, it's important there's not a reduction in daily staff," Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hudson stressed.

Now, instead of crews of two firefighters onboard an engine, they'll have three, Hudson explained.

As firefighters are required to enter a flaming building with a minimum of two at a time, having three-member crews could decrease response time, officials said.

Two-member companies have the truck driver waiting outside, keeping civilians away from the site. Needing at least two firefighters means the remaining firefighter would also have to wait for additional units before entering a flaming building.

"We're still responding effectively and appropriately," Village Manger Gary O'Rourke said.

O'Rourke said all village departments were asked to make operations more efficient, and this was the fire department's proposal.

Streamwood employs 49 firefighter-paramedics. The best way to improve performance would be hiring more firefighters, officials said, but the listless economy stymies that notion.

Hudson said the ideal would to have three-member fire engine crews at all three stations. That something village officials could revisit, but for now they've decided to go forward with moving personnel and making one station inactive.

"It all depends when those resources are available to the village," Hudson said.