Buffalo, NY – The newest city firehouse was dedicated yesterday. The $2.8 million firehouse at Hertel and Elmwood is housing Engine 36 and Ladder 13.
The opening of the new firehouse is part of an ongoing restructuring of the Buffalo fire department that will see fewer firefighters and a reduced number of companies. By the time the restructuring is finished, the department will have reduced the number of engine companies from 20 to 19 and ladder trucks from ten to nine.
But department officials maintain response times will not be diminished. At Monday's dedication, Mayor Anthony Masiello said the Hertel-Elmwood station and two others that will open by year's end will make the fire department more effective.
"It's important that we keep our eye on the prize, and that prize is protecting the public," Masiello said. "We need to make sure that we respond quickly with trained, professional firefighters. Now, we have buildings and locations to help us maximize our coverage."
The new fire station replaces a more than 90 year old firehouse that had housed Engine 36 at Elmwood Avenue and Great Arrow. Fire Commissioner Michael D'Orazio says it's truly a 21st century facility.
"This building has gender-friendly facilities. We have separate bathrooms and lockerrooms for our male and female firefighters," D'Orazio said. "We also incorporated into this building a fully operational gym which is consistent with our initiative to provide a place where firefighters can remain fit."
D'Orazio said the building was built with an extra bay to accommodate the future needs of the department. Indeed, the fire department is acquiring eight new vehicles, including five engines, in the coming months. Mark Scott, WBFO News. Masiello said the department will have eight new pieces of fire apparatus delivered in the coming months, including five new engines.