In the wake of Saturday’s “brownout,” which closed Lexington firestation Four, LFUCG’s Committee of the Whole met today.
Wade Miracle, a Captain assigned to Engine Four (an Ace neighbor on Jefferson Street), made a statement as to why LFUCG shouldn’t close Firehouse Number 4 for even a day:
“Firestations are really about neighborhood ownership and pride ...Firehouse Number 4 is one of the last true neighborhood stations. I can proudly proclaim that we have an interesting and eclectic mixture of clientele in our district. From rich to poor, from homeless to millionaires—we’ve got shotgun homes on one street and just around the corner we’ve got three-story mansions.
“We have Transylvania University, Eastern State Hospital, the Florence Crittenden Home, Rupp Arena, the Hilton, the Hyatt, the Hope Center, the Salvation Army Tower Plaza, half of downtown Lexington, and a plethora of packed bars on the weekend. We may have a small district, but we have the largest mixture of diverse buildings and interesting characters in the city.
“I respectfully disagree with Mayor Newberry and Chief Hendricks when they say that safety won’t be compromised by closing our company. It’s not just about knowing the quickest route to the scene, it’s about knowing where the elevator locations are, stairwell locations, roof access, sprinkler shutoffs, other high risk hazards—and which residents need just a little bit of extra help. That’s what makes a good company—knowing your district and the people within it.
“Firehouse Number 4 is a neighborhood firehouse. We have residents who bring us their mail because they can’t read or write, but they trust us enough to make sure they get their bills paid on time. When you close our firehouse, many of our residents—especially from Tower Plaza—will not be able to go to the next firehouse to get their blood pressure checked. They don’t have the vehicles, or the means.
“We are the phantom company. We are Engine 4. We are the oldest firehouse in town. We have been serving our neighborhood, and Lexington, proudly since 1904. While we may have a small district by some standards, we rank consistently as one of the busiest companies in town—both in actual number of fires and overall run volumes. We average about 200 runs per month, that is if you at least keep us operational. Last night I made ten runs. We love our District and we know our residents. Please allow us to keep on serving them daily for another 100-plus years.
“In closing, I look at this issue from a four-sided point of view. As a resident of Fayette County, it frightens me to think that you’re going to close the firestation, even for a day. As a taxpayer, it frustrates me thinking about the mismanagement of my taxpaying dollars at work. As a captain of the station that you’re thinking about closing, it disgusts me knowing that the safety of my constituents is being compromised. But as a father, I’m just glad to know that at least it’s not the firehouse that’s protecting my family at night that you’re thinking about closing.”