Chesterfield Fire Truck | File

Chesterfield Fire Truck | File

CHESTERFIELD, NJ – The Chesterfield Township Committee passed a resolution supporting a fire consolidation recommendation, which details combining Crosswicks Fire Company with Chesterfield Hose Company.

At last Thursday’s meeting, the Committee heard from Brian Wilson, former Fire Chief of Chesterfield Hose Company, a representative for a subcommittee looking into details regarding fire consolidation within the township.

The subcommittee is made up of representatives from Chesterfield Hose Company, the Crosswicks Fire Company, District #1 Commissioners, and District #2 Commissioners. Wilson pointed to a reducing amount of volunteers as the reason for the interest in consolidation.

Crosswicks Fire Company currently has 15 volunteers, but some are support staff as some aren’t certified to fight fires or drive the trucks. In 2003, District #1 Commissioners decided to hire 6 paid professional firefighters, who are at the firehouse 7am-5pm 5 days a week. Chesterfield Hose Company is 100% volunteer and is looking towards needing career firefighters as sometimes there is a delayed 9-1-1 response or no response at all. It is standard protocol to have 4 firefighters at the station before leaving to go to an emergency.

Former Chief Wilson detailed the estimated fiscal impact of consolidation. District #2 (mostly made up of Chesterfield homes) would see an annual tax increase of approximately $80. District #1 (mostly made up of Crosswicks homes, including much of the newer developments) could expect an increase of approximately $23 per year. Wilson explained that since District #2 has never paid for career firefighters, their taxes would increase when combining with Crosswicks Fire Company.

The Subcommittee has many more details to work out, but the plan would be to have District #1 expand to cover the entire township and operate primarily from the Chesterfield Hose Company on Route 528. Wilson says the building is big enough for all the equipment and is centrally located within the township. WBNC News notes that it is centrally located geographically, but it is not when one is looking at population distribution.

State law requires that the governing body of the township must support any consolidation of fire districts, and following Wilson’s presentation, the Chesterfield Township Committee passed a resolution authorizing the Fire District Subcommittee to continue researching the consolidation.

Later in the meeting, Committeewoman Denise Koetas-Dale gave details on the ongoing demolition of the former Mincemeat Factory on Crosswicks-Chesterfield Road. The developer, after meetings with the Chesterfield Twp Historical Commission, has decided to restore the former blacksmith’s shop and leave it where it is at the corner of Ellisdale Road in Crosswicks.

Ben Wolverton can be reached at bwolverton@wbncnews.com