Rochester Fire Department officially covering West Brighton
Posted at: 08/03/2012 5:36 PM
| Updated at: 08/03/2012 5:48 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
The City of Rochester Fire Department is now officially covering West Brighton as first responder and the saga continues in West Brighton.
City firefighters took up 24/7 residence at the fire house on West Henrietta Road Thursday night at 8 p.m. and they could be there for a while.
Old-timers might have had to rub their eyes for this one -- seeing a city fire engine in the West Brighton fire house.
A four-man city crew had moved in from their South Avenue fire house near Highland Park and the town's contract with the West Brighton Fire Department has been terminated.
William Curran is Acting City Fire Chief. “Here we are in West Brighton and so far so good.”
The only incident the city firefighters have answered before Friday afternoon was a water problem call. “We've met with the Brighton volunteers and I think we have a wonderful relationship with them and we've talked about there being some miscommunications over the last several months and we're working that out.”
Brighton Supervisor Bill Moehle said, “It's certainly an enhancement of service. There have never been four firefighters operating out of that station before.”
The town supervisor says the invitation still stands to have the West Brighton volunteers backing up the city fire company.
An August 28 referendum is approaching for West Brighton residents to decide whether to dissolve the current fire protection district. But the supervisor says even if the vote goes that way, that doesn't mean the city firefighters will pack up and leave. Moehle said, “The first that happens is that things do not change. It does not abolish the fire protection district or change the fact that we have a contract in place with the City of Rochester.”
Cathy Beiter of West Brighton was at the fire house Friday making a sign to remind fellow residents of the referendum August 28. She says she's not related to any of the volunteers, but supports them. “We prefer the mixed house like we had, some paid firefighters and volunteers because it's a tradition and we would really like to keep that going. It's the community part of it.”
If the referendum passes, it would set the wheels in motion for the town to develop a new plan for West Brighton fire protection but that could take six months and might not be very different from what's in place now.
Both sides have another court date August 15 and they disagree over who owns the fire apparatus and fire house. West Brighton volunteers say they do; the town says no -- that the volunteer department signed an agreement that would transfer it to the town when their contract was up.