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POLL: No More Becks Run Fire Station?

Baldwin Borough officials are considering elimination of the station or a merger with Baldwin Independent No. 1.

One way or another, some property owners in the northern part of  will probably have a different fire company responsible for protecting them soon. They just don't know who they are—or when that will change.

The , which shares jurisdiction of north Baldwin with , is in danger of being eliminated by borough officials, or at the very least, forced into a merger with Baldwin Independent.

Borough officials are considering taking a large chunk of Becks Run Fire's service area away since much of that area is actually closer to the Baldwin Independent station on Churchview Avenue than it is to Becks Run's. (The Becks Run station sits at the very northern tip of the borough near the Becks Run Road-East Carson Street intersection.)

The borough is considering a new fire response plan, in the name of public safety, that would do away with existing service area maps and call for the station closest to a fire to respond to it first. That plan would affect all four of the borough's fire stations—Becks Run, Baldwin Independent, on Streets Run Road and on McAnulty Road.

In addition to a new service area practice, annual borough funding of the four stations may change soon, as well, shifting from the existing practice of an equal four-way split of $164,000 ($41,000 each) to four different amounts (still to be determined but probably less than $2,000 for Becks Run) based on how many structures in the borough are actually closest to each station.

"This past budget cycle, when there was ," Baldwin Borough Manager John Barrett said, "it really got us thinking about, 'Is it really fair and equitable to take our contribution and cut it four ways when you have four departments of varying sizes responding to a much different number of calls (and that have) different responsibilities in their district?'"

Becks Run would be hit hardest in the borough by the new funding split, as its response area would dramatically shrink under the new service area plan—rough estimates showing over 90 percent of its area being sent to Baldwin Independent—resulting in a significant loss of funding that could force a closure or a merger of the two stations. And even without new service maps, Barrett said, borough officials are still strongly considering altering the amount of money that each station receives from the borough based on that station's existing service area map. And Becks Run's area is the smallest in the borough.

Barrett said that the impetus to review the borough's fire safety practices comes from a free study offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development of which Baldwin officials recently took advantage.

The result of the study was a recommendation that Baldwin should merge all of its fire stations—equipment, personnel, et al.—into one fire company, but Barrett said that borough officials are probably not going to go that far, instead perhaps ultimately settling on establishing just two companies—one for north Baldwin and the other for south Baldwin. But that is still to be determined, as well.

For now, a merger of north Baldwin's two stations into one company—or the elimination of the small Becks Run station—is more feasible.

Barrett said that borough officials, including fire chiefs, will meet again soon to deliberate on options for Becks Run. Even if a merger is agreed upon, decisions will need to be made over what to do with combined fire equipment and the actual Becks Run Fire building.

"There's a lot that needs to get ironed out," Barrett said.

Should Becks Run Fire merge or close? Should it be left alone? Give us your opinion in the comments section below and vote in our poll above.

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Robert Edward Healy, III February 22, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Poll added.
bd February 22, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Useless poll. A community of the size of Baldwin Borough has no need for 4 fire departments especially one as small as Becks Run. This poll is simply there to create a controversy.
Sandra February 22, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I honestly didn't know there was a fire station on Becks Run Road. I never noticed it.
Robert Edward Healy, III February 22, 2012 at 02:11 PM
bd, Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts. I have to ask: What makes you feel that way about this poll? Many of our readers like to see how their neighbors feel about a community issue such as this.
Kathi Radcliffe February 22, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Jeez, with how many accidents occur on becks run and this fire station always being first on the scene and ready to help and take care of it I wouldn't think they would get rid if it completely.
bd February 22, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Kathi - how did you determine that Becks Run is always first at the scene? Maybe those accidents you saw on Becks Run were in the city portion of Becks Run Road and that the fire trucks you saw were from the city of pittsburgh. Or, maybe the fire vehicles were from the fire department on Churchview Ave. which handles most of Becks Run's calls.
br February 23, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Mr Healy have you tried to contact Becksrun Ind Fire co to get their side of this story if you do you may find out there is more to the study than you were told. You have only heard from one sid eat this time Do you really think that is fare to all that are involed.
Robert Edward Healy, III February 23, 2012 at 08:52 PM
br, I have not spoken to Becks Run Fire yet. I will be at the next emergency management meeting to hear what officials there have to say.
Robert Edward Healy, III February 24, 2012 at 04:45 PM
"Leave it Alone" has a decided lead at this point. For those of you voting that way, tell us why. We want to hear all arguments.
bd February 24, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Whoa, Mr. Healy. "Leave it Alone" does NOT have a decided lead even though the Becks Run VFD members could be voting more than once to pump that number up. But, those voting to leave it alone account for only 41.6% of the vote: a minority. On the other hand, a majority of those responding, or 58.3%, say to merge it, eliminate it, or merge OR eliminate it. I told you before that I thought this poll was useless since you allow people to vote more than once. It is not scientific or valid, for that matter. It does make for discussion which I am sure was your objective.
Robert Edward Healy, III February 24, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Good point, bd. The other answers combine for a higher score at this point. Yes, discussion is the objective. Which way are you voting?
Mr. M February 27, 2012 at 09:56 PM
4 Fire departments in baldwin are uesless. 104 is piss poor, but is close enough to cover theirs and 107s territory; 106 is a no name, as Sandra has announced; 107 is good for its fish frys, and thats about it; and 105 can cover theirs and 106s' territory. So in the end all Baldwin needs is station 104 South Baldwin and station 105 Badwin Independent #1.
Robert Edward Healy, III March 02, 2012 at 03:22 PM
We've closed the voting on this poll. "Leave it Alone" has the most votes (48 percent), but the combination of the other options—"Merge," "Eliminate" and "Either Merge or Eliminate"—edges "Leave it Alone" by three votes. This is not a scientific poll.
Kathi Radcliffe April 25, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Well, I've lived here for 11 years on Becks Run, right on the bend where a lot of these accidents occur. When I look out my window, or step outside my door, or go myself to help if my children aren't home I see them walking towards the accident. That's how I determine it.

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