Why Engine 204 is Important to the Alexandria Community (Video)

by Lee Hernly, Editor

See the above video from your fellow Alexandria residents on why residents should be VERY concerned about keeping essential public safety services in place, especially in North Old Town, Rosemont, Del Ray, and Potomac Yards. Good points made here, especially City Council charging high taxes and not delivering services, the recent Boat Club deal, the City Manager’s pay increase, and City Council choosing ‘Luxuries over services’.

As I have posted about previously, the City Council of Alexandria, Virginia has debated whether or not to close down Engine Company 204 which is located in the North Old Town area of Alexandria and moving the Engine Company out to the West End of Alexandria where response times for fire and medical calls are terrible. There would still be fire apparatus at the station for non-medical calls but, there would be one (1) less water engine supporting Old Town, Potomac Yard, Del Ray, and Rosemont sections of Alexandria.

City staff have acknowledged in budget memos, that because of the proposed move of the water engine, response times in the areas that 204 is responsible for now will get worse (did you also know the City has looked at closing down Station 201 as well?):

Additionally, the reduction of Engine 204 would leave Station 204 with some apparatus available for incident response, but reduce the working capacity of the station and could result in increased response times in its response area of 6.5 minutes at the 90th percentile currently to over 8.7 minutes at the 90th percentile. In addition, response times in other areas of the City would also likely increase as these engines “cover for” other units when they are out on a call. Hence, a reduction in engines may result in higher response times beyond just the “first due” areas.

As the video at an earlier post shows, even seconds matter in a fire. Recently, Engine 204 showed up to a fire call two (2) minutes before the second unit. How bad would that fire have gotten without Engine 204? It should also be noted that Engine 204 has a LONG history in the City of Alexandria.

Having said all that, the Alexandria City Council, at the initial add/delete work session last night, have added the funds back in to the fiscal year 2015 budget to save Engine 204 as well as adding the additional engine out at station 210. Moving the peak time medic unit looks like it is still on the table as well as trimming the number of Fire Marshals. It should be noted, that at the budget work session, it was mentioned that the number of Fire Marshals was cut two years ago. This cut will drop the number of Fire Marshals by almost 50% in two years.

From the looks of the budget worksheet, all members support this right now but, this decision is not final until the final add/delete session which happens next Monday night (4/28).

If you have not done so yet, let Mayor Euille and the Alexandria City Council that they should fund not only Station 210 but keep Engine 204 right where it is and that they should keep ALL of our Fire Marshals.

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