Weatherford Democrat

May 23, 2013

Weatherford, ESD No. 3 consolidation proposed


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE

Weatherford and Hudson Oaks area fire officials are exploring the possibility of combining resources to provide fire service to the area.

The ESD No. 3 board of commissioners, which is responsible for fire and emergency services coverage in Hudson Oaks along with a portion of the Annettas and nearby unincorporated area, gave the go ahead last week for officials to continue to look at the possibility of consolidating Weatherford’s Station No. 2 and ESD No. 3’s station resources.

No action has been taken or contracts signed, according to ESD No. 3 Chief Pat English, who said they are currently brainstorming.

The Weatherford City Council is also expected to be presented with information on the proposal Tuesday night.

Weatherford Fire Chief Paul Rust said they are looking to see if there is a more regional approach they can take and efficiencies they are not currently taking advantage of in providing fire service.

“Our station takes calls where we drive by their station,” Rust said.

ESD No. 3, which staffs its North Oakridge Drive station with two paid firefighters around the clock, and Weatherford, which has three paid firefighters at Station No. 2 at 122 West Lake Drive, have set up a system so that calls in Weatherford’s area that ESD No. 3 is closer to are forwarded to ESD No. 3.

If additional manpower is needed, Weatherford Station No. 2 firefighters continue to respond, according to Rust. If not, they cover ESD No. 3’s area during the call.

“That kind of led into this ... would it be better to combine two stations into one crew?” Rust said.

Firefighting best practices currently call for four firefighters responding to a call, according to Rust, though neither station currently has the number of employees to provide that level of engine staffing.

“We’re sitting down, trying to get all the decision makers together,” Rust said. “So far, everybody’s excited about the potential.”

Officials said they hope to be able to discuss more details of the proposal when the idea is presented to the Weatherford City Council Tuesday night.

Messages left for ESD No. 3 board president Steve Malley were not returned by deadline.

ESD No. 3 accepted a petition last week from voters in the Annettas that requests the Hudson-Oaks-area district annex portions of the area included in ESD No. 1’s territory following the May 11 annexation election.