INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Fire Department has plans to consolidate operations and save money by closing two firehouses in a move the chief promises will not reduce service or response time.
Indianapolis Fire Chief Ernest Malone said the department will still be able to meet its goal of having firefighters at the scene of an emergency in under four minutes, a national benchmark, despite closing one station on the north side and one on the far southeast.
"If it wasn’t a proposal that we were 100 percent confident in, that we could not only meet but exceed the acceptable standard, then I absolutely would not be doing it," Malone told reporters after presenting his plans to the Broad Ripple Village Association Tuesday evening.
Broad Ripple is one of the areas set to see changes. IFD plans in early summer to close Station 16 in Butler-Tarkington and place a full engine unit at Station 32 in Broad Ripple, where just a rescue squad operates now.
Station 32, the department's oldest station house, and surrounding northside stations will be able to respond to all the same coverage areas Station 16 served within that four-minute goal, Malone said.
Neighborhood association members questioned Malone about an engine's ability to navigate out of Station 32 in crowded Broad Ripple, but the chief told board members he has confidence in the drivers and downplayed the concern.
Stations 52 and 54, on the far southeast corner of Marion County, will be replaced by a single, brand new firehouse. Once construction of the roughly $3.5 million new station is complete, firehouse 54 will become a training facility.
A central fire station in Franklin Township is in anticipation of future growth in that part of the county, according to IFD.
Possible concerns from area residents about the loss of a fire station is not lost on IFD, Malone said. "We want to ensure them that there will be no loss in their protection," he said.
Those moves along with bringing all command operations under a single roof in downtown Indy when its new headquarters opens this spring, will save IFD more than a million dollars a year, the department said.