Mansfield Fire Department study says town could have only two fire stations

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In the above photo, the UConn and Farmington Fire Departments practice rescue drills in the new Innovative Partnership Building. Now, a new study recommends that the town downsizes from three to two fires stations. File Photo/The Daily Campus

Preliminary findings of a study of the Mansfield Fire Department, conducted at the request of the Mansfield town council, has recommended that the town downsize from three to two fire stations. 

In data presented to the town council by Steven Knight of Fitch and Associates, a firm contracted by the town, analysis found that calls within an 8.5-minute travel time were mostly fielded by Station 307, at 1,815 calls responded to. In comparison, Station 107 would field only about 191 of these calls and Station 207 would field only two.  

In a six-minute travel time to respond, Station 207’s response rate is upped to 98, about 4.73% of the calls. 

“The reason I wanted to compare and contrast the six minutes and eight minutes is to understand that as we develop a future-oriented strategy and report…staffing and resource allocation will vary depending on what performance level is ultimately adopted,” Knight said. “If you want six minutes you’re going to have to have three stations. If you’re comfortable with eight minutes, you can go with only two stations. So, you have a lot of flexibility there.” 

The study, which is currently in month eight, was originally planned to last only four months. Fire Chief Fran Raiola blamed COVID-19 as the reason for the extension but said the final report will be presented to Interim Town Manager John Carrington and the town council in the next few weeks. 

In addition to the possible elimination of a station, Knight examined relocating a station to increase response time. 

“We could be more efficient in the response time in a two-station model,” Raiola said. “I say that because [of] the cost of staffing with a three-station model, obviously.” 

The cost of the study was $34,995. According to Carrington, the town has paid $20,997 as of September 29. 

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