Union Hill, NY (WROC-TV)
When it comes to responding to emergencies, every minute counts. That’s why some residents in Wayne and Ontario Counties are concerned.
The days are numbered for the Union Hill Fire Department, which will be shutting down at the end of the year. The department is sandwiched between the towns of Ontario and Webster.
“It’s great for the community to have more options,” says Ontario resident Josh Reynolds.
Jonathan Oliva, a Webster resident and business owner says, “It is a little bit of a challenge I think. Webster obviously has a great fire department…it’s unfortunate not to have the support right here.”
“It will increase the response time, I’m assuming,” adds Reynolds.
With a limited staff, their contract with the Ontario Fire District ending, and emergency calls down significantly, Union Hill Fire Chief Kevin Rampf says operations are coming to close. Ontario Fire District #1 is planned to help with the transition.
“It’s kind of hard to continue, when you have a reduction in staff, in volunteers, for the amount of calls we’re taking,” says Rampf.
The Union Hill firefighters have been training at the Ontario Fire Station, a way Ramph says they can hopefully still be able to serve. Ramph adds they may lease the station to Ontario Fire, and they will get first chance to buy the equipment. It would be a way to keep this station alive and functioning.
“We’re still in discussion with them about that,” says Rampf.
He adds the Union Hill Ambulance center next door is a separate facility, and will not be impacted with the closure of the fire hall.