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County officials: Allen County Fire districts are paying off

Tony Sandleben
Fire fighters look on as Allen County Commissioners vote to convert fire territories into four fire districts.

The Allen County fire districts are operational, and, according to the County Fire Chiefs’ Association, so far successful.

“Since the start of the year, these districts have been able to add more staffing which allows the districts to staff more dedicated paramedic ambulances and staff fire trucks,” Allen County Fire Chiefs’ Association President Robert Boren said.

The Allen County Commissioners voted unanimously to convert the county’s fire territories into four fire districts in December of 2022. That brought the county’s fire and EMT services under the same governing structure and allowed them to combine their resources.

Before that vote, Allen County operated with both fire territories and fire districts relying heavily on volunteer firefighters for night and weekend 9-1-1 calls. The volunteer pool aged, and recruitment dropped, leading to slower response times.

Boren said the fire district conversion and subsequent tax rate increase are paying off, recalling a time where the West Central Fire District responded to a vehicle fire in a garage in mid-January. He said thanks to the reallocation of county resources, trucks got out the door within a minute of the call, which he said saved the home.

Boren said two years ago, it would have taken four to six minutes to get a truck out the door for that call.

Boren said the faster response times demonstrated in the 14 months since the districts were created and expanded justified the necessary tax increases.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.