EAST PROVIDENCE — The oft discussed and much sought after fourth rescue to be housed at Station 3 in the north end of the city in Rumford was once again a topic of conversation when the …
EAST PROVIDENCE — The oft discussed and much sought after fourth rescue to be housed at Station 3 in the north end of the city in Rumford was once again a topic of conversation when the latest edition of the council on Tuesday evening, Feb. 7, held a full fledged meeting for the second time since the start of its term last month.
The topic was brought to the floor by new Councilor Frank Rego, who was elected to the predominantly Rumford Ward 1 seat in November 2022 in the stead of his predecessor Bob Britto, himself a newly elected State Senator from District 18 (East Providence, Pawtucket) last fall.
Rego was taking up the baton from Britto on subject of the fourth Advanced Life Support (ALS) emergency services vehicle. Rumford Station 3 remains the only one of the four EPFD locations not to have a rescue situated in it full time.
The three permanent rescues currently reside in the other neighborhoods throughout East Providence: Station 1, the EPFD headquarters on Broadway in the center of the city; Station 2 on Bullocks Point Avenue in Riverside and Station 4 on Wampanoag Trail in Kent Heights. The third rescue, at Station 4, was put into service full time in 1999.
“The fourth rescue is needed full time at Station 3 due to the increase in calls in the city and to cut down on mutual aid calls,” said Rego of his continued pursuit of the fourth ALS vehicle.
Current East Providence Fire Department Chief Glenn Quick, at the behest of the council, reviewed the data from recent years. The chief pulled figures from 2021, when EPFD rescues received 8,321 calls, and 2022, when 9,330 runs were made.
Both Quick and Mayor Bob DaSilva’s Director of Administration, Napoleon Gonsalves, immediately pointed out the figures were likely higher due to the continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic the last two years.
Quick also told the council the department’s mutual aid calls, when EPFD rescues respond to out-of-city emergencies on a reciprocal basis with other municipalities, increased as well year-over-year from 642 in 2021 to 949 in 2022.
In throwing his support behind proposal, new Ward 4 Councilor Rick Lawson said the fourth rescue made sense because of all the new development going on in East Providence and Rumford in particular, where hundreds of new apartment units along with several single family and condominums are being built.
Lawson mentioned the “East Point” housing development adjacent to Phillipsdale Landing which will have a specific senior citizen component. Another residential complex of note, “Newport Center,” is rising up in Rumford as well off Newport Avenue.
“I’m all in,” said Lawson. “Whatever we need to do to staff it, I support it.”
As has been stated by others in the past, Quick, when queried by the council last week, pegged the price tag of permanently putting an EMS vehicle in Station 3 at around $1 million. It was proposed the city could meet that number by using the fees it collects from insurance companies of patients the EPFD transports.
The issue has been raised by Rumford residents and Britto for years. Previous department officials as well as city managers and the DaSilva administration have been reluctant to make it long term commitment due to the estimated annual cost and manpower requirements.
When asked if he concurred with the necessity of adding a fourth rescue, Quick said, “I agree. It’s just a matter of getting it budgeted.”
Of his continued pursuit of the proposal, Rego said after the meeting, “My constituents have asked me about all of the out-of-town rescues they see coming into Ward 1 on a regular basis. With the insurance fees we collect we can off-set the cost of the fourth rescue.”