YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown’s historic Fire Station 7 will close by the end of the year. Chief Barry Finley says it’s already a done deal, but not everyone agrees.
Community members gathered outside Station 7 on the corner of Madison Avenue and Elm Street to rally, shouting, “Save Station 7!”
Speakers protested the north side station’s closure.
“We should not be cutting our citizens off from basic safety and protection,” said Rev. Joseph Boyd.
Finley wants to move resources from Station 7 to Station 3, downtown. He says the move only adds two minutes max to response time.
A little more than a week ago, a fire broke out at an abandoned apartment on Broadway Avenue, just a few blocks away from Station 7.
Neighbors say that extra two minutes can make all the difference.
“When I saw my dear friend’s Robert Pilloli’s house burning because of the fire that was in the apartment house next to his… When I saw that fire burning in that apartment building, it went from a small fire to an inferno, within minutes, folks,” said neighbor Therese Joseph.
Another north side neighbor argues that with traffic and the size of the streets, relying on Station 3 is not good enough.
“The time it would take for somebody to get to the north end of Selma or Coronado could be, make a huge difference by coming from this spot, rather than from over there,” said Alexander Lamb.
Former Battalion Chief Tim McGarry is fighting for Station 7 because of its location.
“Out of all the city fire stations, this is the most strategically placed station,” he said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that you can close a station so perfectly placed out of all the other stations in the city.”
Station 7 sits just a few blocks away from Youngstown State University.
“How will we protect our children that are in school at Ursuline? Our children that are in school at YSU?” said State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan.
Right now, Station 7 is set to close on Dec. 1.