by Robert Holt
BRIDGEPORT- At their meeting on May 20, the Logan Township Council discussed the proposed closing of the Repaupo Fire Station with a roomful of mostly Repaupo residents. The Repaupo Station was one of three volunteer fire stations in Logan Township, and has been in service since 1921.
Most of the station’s equipment has been moved to the township’s other two stations, and the volunteer firefighters have been reassigned to Bridgeport for calls. Logan has two other fire stations in Bridgeport and Beckett.
During the public portion of the meeting, people in attendance expressed fears about the response time to fires in their community, and possible increases in their homeowner’s insurance. They argued that lives were being put at risk by the fire station’s closing.
The decision to move the station’s equipment came mainly from Municipal Fire Chief Scott Oatman, “Back in 2010, Logan Township passed an ordinance that gave the Fire Chief the authority to move equipment,” stated Administrator Lyman Barnes.
Barnes explained that Repaupo’s response rate to Logan Township’s fire calls was less than nine percent, and less than one percent of the active fire calls came from Repaupo. Councilmember Stephen Dougherty pointed out that between 2009 and 2013, 3.6 percent of all calls were in the jurisdiction of Repaupo.
“Bridgeport was closer to 20 percent,” Dougherty added.
Councilmember Chris Morris noted that people had expressed concerns that there was no fire company in the proximity of Repaupo to serve the area in case of fire, but said that the Bridgeport Station was only three miles away.
“The crew that we have there now is more than capable of responding,” Morris maintained.
Reports have said that the Repaupo Fire Company costs $25,000 a year to maintain. “There were many considerations taken, and this decision was not made overnight,” commented Mayor Frank Minor. “We rely on our professionals for these decisions.”
“Based on Chief Oatman’s credentials, I stand behind his decision,” said Dougherty.
Minor agreed to revisit the closing, and planned to have Oatman and Deputy Fire Chief Richard Rhoad meet with two members of the Repaupo Fire Station.
In resolutions, Council approved payment of $40,738.60 to Bogey’s Trucking & Paving, Inc. for the community’s 2013 road program. Also, a rain date of July 6 was added to the fireworks display scheduled for the Bridgeport Speedway on Independence Day.
Council also approved a resolution that welcomes the 2014 Special Olympics U.S.A. Games and all Special Olympics athletes and volunteers to New Jersey. The Games take place from June 14-21.
In his police report, Logan Police Captain Robert Leash mentioned that the force had successfully participated in Operation Take Back during April, a collection of unused medicines and pharmaceuticals. And Leash noted that the police department would be receiving $1,200 for participating in the “Click It or Ticket” program.
Elsewhere, the Council presented a plaque to Denis Magerr, who was retiring from the Logan Little League after 20 years of volunteer service.
“Denis and his family have been major contributors to the betterment of Logan Township and its youth,” Minor praised. “His reputation in the community is unmatched.”
“The Little League won’t be the same without you,” added Morris. “The countless hours you put in maintaining the fields was really appreciated.”