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City Council orders fire chief to have at least 15 firefighters on duty at all times

One fire station will be closed, another relocated. Businesses that have too many false alarms may be penalized
2016-07-31 Essar Steel Fire DMH-3
FILE PHOTO: Fire at CN rail yard near Essar Steel Algoma on July 31, 2016. Donna Hopper/SooToday

Sault Ste. Marie City Council tonight directed Fire Chief Peter Johnson to maintain minimum on-duty staffing of 15 firefighters at all times.

The action, which adds an extra firefighter per shift, was taken after councillors received a comprehensive risk assessment and fire master plan outlining how fire protection services will be delivered over the next 10 years.

Council also agreed tonight to reduce the number of local fire stations to three.

Since 1967, the Sault has had four stations.

The plan approved tonight calls for the main downtown #1 Station at 72 Tancred to be relocated north of the railway tracks to the Bruce Street, Gladstone Avenue neighbourhood.

#2 Station at 363 Second Line West and #3 Station at 100 Bennett Blvd. will remain in their current locations.

#4 Station at 65 Old Garden River Rd. will no longer be used.

Steve Thurlow from Dillon Consulting Ltd. has also advised the city to start charging user fees to commercial addresses that have too many false alarms.

Thurlow also recommends that Sault Fire Services withdraw from providing marine rescues.

Chief Johnson is expected to develop an implementation plan for the changes to be brought back to City Council for approval.

SooToday will have further coverage of tonight's decisions from City Council.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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