Letter at Length

Ashland firefighters deserve a new station

Remember the Oak Knoll fire and vote yes on the Fire Station No. 2 bond levy. Fire station No. 2 needs to be replaced before firefighters are injured or sickened and before OSHA closes it down.

The building was constructed in 1965 of hollow, unreinforced concrete blocks (think Japan earthquake). Diesel exhaust seeps into sleeping and eating areas. Areas of the ceiling have asbestos-based covering.

Water pipes in the slab have failed and have been abandoned. Rain water flows into the air-handling ducts and frequently covers the floor. There are no gender-specific sleeping areas nor bathrooms. There is no safe area for decontamination of blood and bodily fluids.

Would you live in a house like this? Our firefighters must live here in order to give you the protection you need and deserve. They deserve better.

The building was designed to house two firefighters (both male) when there were fewer than 100 fire calls annually. In 2010, there were 3,200!

In 2006, a bond issue to replace this station was defeated because it cost too much ($5.4 million), encroached on Sherwood Park and was too elaborate. The new design is functional without frills, does not encroach on Sherwood Park and will cost less than $3 million.

And how does that affect the average Ashland household? It will cost the average homeowner about 8 cents a day. For only 8 cents a day you can give our firefighters the facility they need in order to give you the protection you need.

Without fire station No. 2 you cannot have a five-minute response time to all of Ashland. And without this response time, guess what will happen to insurance rates in all of Ashland? Do you think they will go up less than 8 cents a day? I think not.

Remember the Oak Knoll fire and the Japan earthquake and vote yes on the "General Obligation Bond Authorization for Reconstruction of Fire Station No. 2." You need it.

Jerry Kenefick


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