Opinion contributed by Regina Criscione, Holmdel
Southern Holmdel has experienced its fourth major fire since 2014 when the Holmdel Township Committee abruptly disbanded Fire Company #1 and closed its firehouse on Main Street. The Township claimed it had decreased response times by adding two firehouses and round-the-clock coverage. But this never happened. The new firehouse on Crawfords Corner Road was often unmanned. Furthermore, the fire truck from the old firehouse was parked in an unheated storage shed at Vonage and sustained major damage. A fire occurred in December 2015 directly across the street from this fire truck yet neighbors reported that it took an hour for Holmdel Fire Company #2 to arrive. Three more fires have since occurred (most recently on February 1, 2019) in which the buildings were completely destroyed.
I commend the courageous efforts of the firefighter volunteers of Holmdel and neighboring towns who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. But it is apparent that the Township’s mismanagement of this situation has put us at risk. Currently, Holmdel’s only operational firehouse is on Centerville Road, a twelve-minute drive to the burned-out building sites as well as my own home. And a just-released fire study commissioned by the Township concluded that Fire Company #2 is understaffed, ill-equipped and inadequately trained.
While the Township spent the last four years attempting to build sports fields throughout town, it has virtually ignored this lack of fire coverage in southern Holmdel. Township officials should re-align their priorities and restore our fire service before more people suffer.
This article was first published in the Feb. 28-March. 6, 2019 print edition of The Two River Times.
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