The official end of the Inwood fire department


Heather Wright
The Independent

There will be no Inwood fire station anymore.
Brooke-Alvinston made it official Thursday during a special meeting of council specifically to talk about the consultants report looking at the efficiency of Brooke-Fire Rescue.
The report – which had 23 recommendations in all – came to the conclusion the entire municipality can be served well by the single station in Alvinston.
The municipality hired Firehouse 33 to look at the efficiency of the department after years of turmoil. In May 2018, 16 firefighters in Inwood, including the station chief, resigned after a series of disputes about training with the new chief. That left the 70 year-old department with a skeleton crew and meant firefighters from Alvinston filled the gap.
By 2019, the municipality needed to renew a lease on the fire hall, which is owned by the Inwood Firemen’s Association. Months of conflict ended with the municipality removing the trucks Jan. 1 and placing them in a rented drive shed in the community.
Recently, the municipality tried to buy the building back, but that effort also failed.
Thursday, the new Chief Steve Knight walked council through the report and pointed out the entire fire department had a chance to look at the recommendations and comment on them during a meeting earlier this year.
Items like creating a shower for female firefighters, buying a fire gear washing station, and using technology to advance the department were all given the thumbs up.
But when given an opportunity to make comments, most of the discussion was about Inwood. The firefighters didn’t think a dedicated Emergency Medical Responder Team was needed since firefighters already respond to accidents and medical calls.
And they agreed council needed to make a final decision on the fate of the Inwood hall before the department can move forward. Some voiced concerns about a community commitment to Inwood. Others said a fire hall in Inwood was costly and wasn’t needed to maintain good response times.
That was the conclusion of the consultant as well; “With no significant development on the near horizon, a single fire station currently in service in Alvinston should be able to provide emergency coverage to the entire community for the foreseeable future.”
Councillor Frank Nemcek says this has been the hardest issue he has ever dealt with during his 10 years on council. But he made the motion that “the Inwood station was not needed” although it might be necessary in the future if there is growth in the community.
“The area is getting smaller and smaller. And information in this report is that we’re getting more and more efficient,” says Nemcek.
Mayor Dave Ferguson noted with Dawn-Euphemia considering pulling out of fire service agreements with Inwood, serving the area would be more costly with a dedicated Inwood station.
Council voted in favour of one station serving the entire municipality although it was not clear who voted which way since the vote was not recorded.