By Allison Collins
SIDNEY – Earlier this month, Sidney Fire Department officially closed its final outpost, MacDonald Hose Co., to bring the 54-member, all-volunteer organization under one roof at 74-76 River St.
At the same time, the fully staffed Sidney Emergency Medical Squad relocated from its River Street home into a temporary base of operations at the Tri-Town Regional Hospital.
Sidney Fire Chief Ray Baker said the changes to the fire department will hopefully create shortened emergency response times while saving taxpayer dollars.
“This has been something I’ve been working on for a year or so, but it officially happened Sept. 1,” he said.
“Within the fire department there had always been companies: Macdonald Hose, Cartwright Hook and Ladder and Phelps,” Baker said. “Instead of separate companies, now they’ve all become one Sidney Fire Department.”
“It happened because of a manpower shortage and the impact on the tax base,” he added. “It’s just better to have all the trucks and firemen at one station. If we’ve got three or four trucks going uptown or downtown, you have to wait and see what trucks are coming from where.”
Previously, Baker noted, the department maintained two trucks at the MacDonald Hose Co. building on East Main Street.
“This affects them a little more, because we moved them out of their station and into the main station,” Baker said. “But we’re funded by the Village of Sidney, so the tax base was paying for heat, lights and maintenance on that station.”