ANNUAL REPORT: Wellington fire district calls set new record

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Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise
Calls to the Wellington fire district were at a record high in 2018, finishing the year at 547 after consecutive years at 486.

JONATHAN DELOZIER
REPORTER

Overall calls set a new record in 2018 for the second straight year in the Wellington fire district, but the occurrence of many specific types of incidents in the village dropped off.

According to an annual report released this past week, Wellington firefighters responded to 566 calls last year, topping 2017’s record of 547 and continuing a five-year upward trend.

Calls jumped from 364 to 439 between 2013 and 2014 followed by back-to-back years of a then-record 486 calls.

Assistant chief Bill Brown said much of 2018’s uptick can be attributed to firefighters providing more assistance to Central Lorain County Ambulance District in Pittsfield Township.

“We help them with the very serious situations like chest pains and things of that nature,” Brown said. “It’s hard to say what led to so many more calls out there happening lately. We’ve had an agreement in place for around eight years to provide backup to their medics, very similarly to how we assist the South Lorain County Ambulance District.”

Medical assistance calls jumped for the fourth year in a row, totaling 239 over the past year.

The district hovered between 79 and 89 such calls from 2009 to 2014 before a rise to 130 in 2015, 183 in 2016, and 187 in 2017.

While total calls continued to climb last year, reported structure fires in the district dropped to 19 from 45 the prior year.

Response to vehicle crashes remained steady at 85, keeping in line with yearly totals that have stayed between 86 and 73 since 2012.

Brown said WFD response to drug overdoses continued to fall last year as local, state, and national efforts continue to focus on the problem.

“From our standpoint, it seems like the overdoses kind of slowed down for a while,” he said. “We don’t necessarily track that. It seemed as the year was winding down, they seemed to go down a little bit. They picked back up again in the past few weeks but the pattern for the year was much less frequent.”

The WFD spent $616,449 while bringing in $841,803 last year. The district’s 2.75-mill levy generates $764,436 and costs voters $144 per $150,000 of property valuation annually.

Deficit spending of just under $300,000 is projected for this year, with estimated expenses coming in at $1,336,384 and revenue at $1,044,043.

That can be attributed to a planned 5,800-square-foot addition to the WFD’s Kelly Street station with a price tag of $600,000.

The district plans to pay $300,000 of that cost from its cash reserve and finance the remainder.

Plans for the addition call for additional truck bays as well as men’s and women’s locker rooms and a command office.

Contractor bidding for the project, which will be overseen by the Poggemeyer Design Group, will be advertised in the coming weeks.

Construction could start in the late spring or early summer, according to assistant fire chief Troy Pitts.