Fire Departments Could be Overwhelmed when Central Coventry Clos - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Fire Departments Could be Overwhelmed when Central Coventry Closes

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by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter 

mcurtis@abc6.com 

The Coventry fire department is busy trying to protect its own territory...but now it may have to cover 25 square miles of central Coventry along with the Hopkins Hill and West Coventry Fire Departments.

Chief Paul Labbadia of the neighboring Coventry Fire Department said, "It's pretty much like Russian Roulette. It's rolling the dice, see what happens. Maybe 72 hours tops. And at that point we have to utilize the Southern New England Mutual Aid Agreement."

That means emergency response could come from West Warwick, East Greenwich, and even further away.

Central Coventry is at this point, after Tuesday night's meeting where voters rejected the department budget for a second time.

Basically it came down to a big tax hike, versus quick emergency response:

One taxpayer opposed to the budget said, "It's crazy. We're already paying more fire taxes than we should have to pay."

Another taxpayer who supported the budget said, "I'm concerned for my life, for my husband's life, for my family. For my neighbors, for all of us."

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "If all of the Central Coventry firehouses shut down the chief says neighboring departments will have to pick the slack. But that could add 10 to 15 minutes to emergency response times."

Widely accepted fire science says that a fire will double in size for every minute it is not being put out.

The Central Coventry Chief says insurance rates will go up, and public safety will go down.

Chief Andrew Baynes said, "Quality of life is going to be a very questionable thing going forward from here. I think there is a lot of disastrous outcomes from this vote last night."

The chief and 45 of his men will lose their jobs, when Central Coventry closes its doors.

 

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