Oronoco Emergencies Not Fielded by Closest Fire Department

Created: 03/11/2014 10:50 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- One of the Rochester Fire Halls is just a couple minutes from homes on the north edge of town, but since they’re considered to be in "Oronoco Township," emergency fire calls are directed all the way to Pine Island.

"The 5 townships out here own the equipment and then the City of Pine Island furnishes the building and the man power," said Oronoco Township Supervisor Richard Lyke. Right now Oronoco owns its own fire equipment, but it’s used by the Pine Island Fire Association and it's Pine Island crews who respond to the neighborhoods just off of 75th Street toward the north end of Rochester. The big question, why aren't Rochester Fire Crews responding to those calls? "This has been an ongoing subject for probably the last 20 years," said Lyke.

Apparently, it’s not so simple. First, the Rochester Fire Department is contracted with 4 other townships as it is, plus... "It has been an expense we couldn't afford out here because we don't have the tax base to pay for it," said Lyke.

Oronoco officials feel there are other reasons as well. "They don't have as much of the tanker trucks to supply water, and of course, the biggest way to fight a fire is water," said Lyke.

Lyke says they're now discussing a new solution. "Now, we've been talking about a satellite station down here closer to Rochester." He says this would make things less costly for Oronoco and home owners living in that neighborhood. "We realized if we were located closer it could cut down the costs of the insurance," said Lyke.

We did speak with the Rochester Fire Chief and though he thinks they could respond more quickly to that area, they are not out to "take over" that neighborhood.