Md. fire station closes due to lack of volunteers

Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company leaders cited “a noticeable decline in volunteer participation” at the 505 Trimble Road station


By David Anderson
The Aegis

JOPPATOWNE, Md. — The Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company will no longer provide fire or EMS response from its Trimble Road firehouse in Joppatowne and will shift the members assigned there to its other two firehouses.

Company leaders cited “a noticeable decline in Volunteer participation” at the 505 Trimble Road station — which is in the vicinity of Joppatowne Elementary School, Joppatowne High School and the Joppatowne Plaza Shopping Center — as a primary reason for shifting the remaining members, according to an email from Chief William Vanarsdale Jr. sent to all fire company members Saturday evening.

The two census tracts in closest proximity to the firehouse have an estimated combined population of 10,300, according to a Harford County Planning Department demographic report published last year.

The facility will not be closed, but it will be used for storage and operational support, according to Vanarsdale’s email.

The chief met with company President Danny Adkins and two captains Saturday to discuss operations at the Trimble Road firehouse such as the decline in volunteer participation over the past three years, “numerous” mechanical issues that prevent the company from placing fire apparatus there, plus the mechanical breakdown of one of the company’s five fire engines.

The breakdown means the company has downsized to four engines, according to Vanarsdale’s email.

Eighteen members are assigned to the Trimble Road station, although only two live in Joppatowne.

“Most of the members live outside of the Joppa area or live in Baltimore County with one member living in West Virginia,” the chief stated.

Responses to fire calls in the Joppatowne area will come from Joppa-Magnolia’s substation at 1601 Hanson Road in Edgewood and the company’s main firehouse at 1403 Old Mountain Road South, near the Interstate 95/Route 152 interchange in Joppa. Responses to EMS calls will come from the Joppa firehouse, which has been the case for the past year and a half, according to the email.

The Trimble Road firehouse will remain open for continued operational support of the company. It is used to wash and store firefighter turnout gear, maintain Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, or SCBA, gear, house the company’s IT mainframe and house swift-water rescue boats for Harford County’s Technical Rescue Team, according to the email.

Vanarsdale could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

Company spokesperson Andy Doyle confirmed Monday that the shift of members had been made effective Saturday, that fire and EMS response will come from the Edgewood and Joppa firehouses, and that the Joppatowne firehouse will remain open for operational support.

Doyle said the company is “always looking for community members who want to join our organization.”

“We have immediate openings for operational and administrative members,” he wrote in a text message. “Free training [is] available.”

Copyright 2018 The Aegis

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