Wyoming reopens shuttered firehouse

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Making good on a promise made last fall, Wyoming officials have reopened the Gezon Parkway Fire Station.

A full-time American Medical Response ambulance crew will operate out of the station on Gezon Parkway near Byron Center Avenue. Part-time Wyoming firefighters will respond to fire calls.

The station has been a prime example of Wyoming’s budget problems. Built in 1994, it closed in the mid-2000s after voters turned down a millage to staff it.

After years of debate about staffing, officials decided to reopen the firehouse with mostly part-timers and outside help for the bulk of the station’s calls, which are medical emergencies. While it’s located in the fast-growing area around Metro Health Hospital, it is not the busiest area of the city when it comes to fire calls, so the decision was made to use part-timers.

“It’s important that we at least have this equipment here and be able to respond,” Wyoming Public Safety Director James Carmody said.

Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody and 24 Hour News 8's Joe LaFurgey discuss a program to decrease truancy at Godfrey Lee Public Schools. (April 11, 2014)
(Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody and 24 Hour News 8’s Joe LaFurgey. April 11, 2014)

One lieutenant is assigned to the house, with part-time firefighters responding from their homes and businesses, and fire fighting-trained Wyoming public works employees filling in the gaps.

Carmody says the department is monitoring call volume, and could move full-time crews into the station during peak call hours in the future.

DPS will unveil the reopened station to the public Saturday during a public safety expo. It’s a chance for the taxpaying public to see how their money’s being spent, as well as a recruitment effort.

“For those people that are interested, that might be interested in being a paid, on-call firefighter, it’s an opportunity to put in application in and go from there,” Carmody said. “You always need full-time fire fighters. There’s no doubt about that. We need that expertise. We need that skill. But they also need the support.”

The expo is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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