IFD looks to close one station, open another

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Fire Department is looking to make changes over the next year.

IFD Chief Ernest Malone has unveiled a plan for redeployment. Included in the plan is the closure of Station 16 at 5555 N. Illinois St. in Broad Ripple.

“Obviously I sympathize with the residents close to Station 16,“ said City County Councillor Colleen Fanning. Station 16 falls within her council district. “It’s never fun to lose a fire station,” she added. Nor is what homeowners wanted to hear about their life saving neighbors located near 56th and Illinois street.

“It’s definitely become a staple just to look down the street and know that the fire station is there and to see the guys out walking around and interacting with the neighborhood,” said Emily Shafer who lives across the street from the station, “I think it’ll definitely be loss.”

Consolidating Station 16 into Station 32 in Broad Ripple is just one part of the vast redeployment effort the Indianapolis Fire Department put together.

“This will be something we do each and every year to make sure we have the right equipment in the right place to protect our community at the most cost effective, in the most cost effective manner possible,” said Chief Ernest Malone. “At the end of the day we get better as a community and certainly as a fire department in our ability to provide services.”

He broke down the plan for the Broad Ripple Village Association Tuesday night. He’s also met personally with neighborhood groups and the fire houses affected by the changes.

The plan states that when Station 16 closes, four neighboring stations would pick up the slack. In 2015, IFD said Station 16 handled 1,336 runs.

Chief Malone said the department’s average response time of four minutes and nineteen seconds won’t be affected for the area Station 16 covers.

“We vetted the numbers and vetted them and if it wasn’t a proposal we were 100% confident in that could not only meet but exceed the acceptable standard then I absolutely would not be doing it,” he said.

That confidence is why neighbors aren’t letting themselves get worried.

“I think it’ll be a change to get used to the fact that they’re not right there and invisible in case you do need them,” Shafer said of Station 16.

The plan states the station it could be converted into a community center. Councillor Fanning hopes the spot will become valuable asset to the neighborhood.

“Losing a fire station is a sentimental thing, I totally get that, so I want to make sure whatever replaces it is going to be fantastic,” she said. “Hopefully we can keep some of the history and some of the meaning behind the station alive.”

The plan also states a new station would also be built in the Franklin Township area at a cost of $3.2 to $3.5 million.

Stations 52 and 54 would also become consolidated, with station 54 becoming the IFD Fitness Center.

IFD administrative staff would be consolidated into one building, as well. Battalion 3 Chiefs Quarters would be constructed at station 10.

IFD says the plan would save $2.1 million by the middle of 2017.

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