Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fire Station No. 6 – Six Hundred Days and Still Closed

Believe it or not, this coming Friday, 22 October, marks the 600th day since the snowstorm related closing of Fire Station No. 6.  This fact leads to some observations on my part, some of which are not necessarily new, but I think that they are worth repeating nonetheless.

1) The fifteen month delay in starting reconstruction of the station was entirely by choice, not by necessity.  The funds currently being used for the station’s reconstruction are the same funds that could just as easily been employed for that purpose fifteen months earlier.  City Hall wasted well over a year by trying, and pointedly failing, to get someone else to pay for a structure that was more elaborate that needed.

2) Because of that needless delay, the Unified Government played with fire –literally.  It gambled that no serious blaze would occur in the part of the county covered by Fire Station No. 6, completely dismissing concerns as to the adequacy of fire protection provided to that part of the county by other stations. As the J&J Chemical Company fire amply demonstrated, City Hall failed on this point, as well.

3) Any suggestion that the extended closure of Fire Station No. 6 had any consequences regarding the J&J Chemical Company fire, with regard to either lengthened response times or as a contributing factor to the chemical spill resulting from the fire, are met with categorical denial by anyone who even deigns to address the matter.  Apparently, polite company simply does not discuss such things.

4) Once again, those residents in the general services district are treated as second-class citizens.  It is inconceivable that such a voluntary delay in reopening a fire station would have occurred regarding any of the in-town facilities such as Fire Station No. 1 on College Avenue, Fire Station No. 4 on Oglethorpe Avenue, and sure as Hades not the elaborately overbuilt Fire Station No. 3, a.k.a. the Five Points Taj Mahal.

5) As a corollary to points enumerated above, no one connected with the Unified Government (elected officials, appointed officials, staff, or even candidates running for office) has indicated that the voluntary decision to keep the station closed for such an inordinate period of time is worthy of note.

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