A firefighters on track for busy year

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — The Allen Park Fire Department is on pace to see an increase in fire and rescue calls of about 12.5 percent in just two years.

Fire Chief Douglas LaFond said the department could see about 3,200 fire and rescue runs this year, which is about 100 more runs than 2012 and about 400 more than 2011.

“Last year, we saw the more runs than ever before,” he said. “But if the calls continue to come in the way they do, we’re definitely on track to see our busiest year yet again.”

LaFond said he believes the increased calls are due to the city’s aging housing, aging residents and the declining economy.

“I am a firm believer that when the economy takes a hit, the number of incidents spike,” he said. “Residents don’t have the money to do the necessary upgrades to their homes or even go to the doctor like they should, which unfortunately means they have to call to us.”

The department responded to two working structure fires — when firefighters have to hook up to a fire hydrant instead of using the tank on the fire truck — Monday. Normally, he said, the department would see about 400 to 500 fire-related runs a year, and rarely do they respond to two fires in one day.

“Two fires is definitely not a normal occurrence for us,” He said. “But, we are always ready and the department handled them well.

The first fire occurred in an unoccupied room, on the second floor of the Holiday Inn, 3600 Enterprise Drive, about 12:45 a.m. A preliminary investigation into the fire said it was an electrical fire that began by the mini refrigerator in the room, he said, and the fire was quickly contained inside that room.

There were no injuries and no other rooms were damaged. LaFond said the department received assistance from the Melvindale Fire Department because of the large size of the building.

The second fire occurred in house in the 16000 block of Belmont about 2 p.m. and was contained to the kitchen. There was water and fire damage around the stove and smoke damage in other parts of the house. The fire was ruled accidental and the stove was found to be its source.

“The homeowner’s daughter bought her the stove the day before,” LaFond said. “Her old stove had a drawer for storage and she didn’t realize the drawer on the new stove was actually a broiler. It was an honest mistake and no one was hurt.”

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)