Gladstone discusses joint firefighting venture

GLADSTONE – Residents had an opportunity to hear a report on the progress of Gladstone and Escanaba Township’s plans for a joint firefighting venture during the Gladstone City Commission meeting Monday night.

“We’ve had one meeting regarding the automatic aid agreement that the city and the township are looking towards drafting and coming up with, and we’re still working on that,” said Public Safety Director Paul Geyer. “We’re planning on having another meeting in the near future to discuss it more.”

The agreement would dictate how the departments interact with each other, and would include how far either department would travel into the other department’s territory automatically in case of a fire. A county-wide agreement is already in place, however, the new agreement would be specifically tailored to the needs of the township and city.

The partnership between the two municipalities has been under discussion since last October when the city deeded the township two acres located in the northeastern corner of Fernwood Cemetery for the construction of a second Escanaba Township fire hall. The property had been owned by the city despite being located within the township limits.

Plans for the fire hall have already been approved and a request for bids was sent to contractors in Delta County on Friday. Steve Belongie, Escanaba Township firefighter, believes that the groundbreaking on the facility will take place this spring.

“The building is going to look very nice I think,” he said.

The facility will be home to a new Class A fire truck with a foam system, which will be used by both departments. The truck is being constructed by CSI Emergency Apparatus of Grayling, Mich., and will have the same equipment as Gladstone’s truck 64 and Escanaba Township’s truck 1.

“It’s amazingly a seamless truck. You can use it for either or (pumper or tender) on any given scene. Which is one of the nice things about it,” said Geyer.

The truck will have a 1,250 gallon per minute pump system, 400-600 feet of large diameter hose compatible with city hydrants, and a 3,000 gallon tank for tendering water.