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April  10

Montclair: All Fired Up

If a shared-services agreement between Orange and Montclair becomes a reality, expect to hear more sirens in Baristaville. From the Star Ledger...

In mid March, Montclair was awarded a $89,750 state Department of Community Affairs grant to scrutinize its firefighting forces and those of neighboring Orange as a possible prelude to a shared-services agreement.

It will be "a complete soup to nuts evaluation of both departments," Joseph Hartnett, Montclair's township manager, said at the time, referring to the regionalization study that will examine everything from manpower to response times.

Montclair already has an agreement to provide firefighting service to the borough of Glen Ridge, its 1.3-square-mile neighbor.

Orange and Montclair share only a very small border, at its southernmost point, near Rosedale Cemetery.

Orange's largest border communities, and the ones who have fire stations closest to it, and the two that it is sandwiched between, are West Orange, its 12.1-square-mile neighbor on the west, and East Orange, its 4-square-mile neighbor on the east.

April 10, 2006 in Controversy | Permalink


More sirens? Oh lovely (said with great sarcasm).

Posted by: Max | Apr 10, 2006 5:11:50 PM

The sharing of services like this is normally genious. This doesn't seem to make sense though. Orange and Montclair aren't a natural fit for this in any sense, and Montclair and Glen Ridge are already the one and only town in Essex Country doing the very smart thing of sharing an easily shared service. Why doesn't Montclair spend some $$ and effort figuring out how to regionalize or otherwise improve the EMS service? The MVAU is only temporarily bouyed financially because of selling their building - they dont' seem to be fiscally solvent beyond a few more years.... and the idea that volunteers can still provide daytime EMS in nearby towns is pretty much a fallacy. Spend some time and effort (and not 80 grand) to figure out how these incredibly close together towns can share EMS services just as well as they share a fire co. That makes sense.
While they're at it they can start billing insurance for service and have a long term plan for staying in business.

Posted by: darren | Apr 10, 2006 5:16:07 PM

Didn't the Star-Ledger just have an article saying that Orange is 18 - 20 firefighters under their authorized strength? And, that the overtime for the remaining firefighters will blow the budget by August?

Posted by: Rail Paul | Apr 10, 2006 5:23:08 PM

I have heard that Orange has worn out their wlcome with the other surrounding towns. It is not a short run from Montclair to Orange, and most routes take you through other towns-- East Orange on Thomas Blvd and West Orange by several other routes.
All in all, sounds like a loser for Montclair/GR.

Posted by: drDonna | Apr 10, 2006 5:54:24 PM

The town council of Orange should take care of their own firefighting services. It's amazing what Montclair's Town Council worries about, especially since we can't even get garbage pick up twice a week. Care to respond Mr. Hartnett??

Posted by: Montclair 1967 | Apr 10, 2006 6:37:43 PM

So lets keep it real here.....Montclair ( a town that by all rights wants to keep people from orange on their side of the border) is in such a fantastic fiscal situation or so totally overburdened by our current firefighting needs, that we need this.....ummm.....NO

Posted by: WoHoNative | Apr 10, 2006 7:13:34 PM


The fire station at Nishuane Park is close, but it does make you wonder what transpired with other towns.

Posted by: Dog Mom | Apr 10, 2006 7:26:42 PM

is there a border between Montclair and Orange?

Posted by: pissant | Apr 10, 2006 8:48:27 PM

It would put a strain on the already existing commitment Montclair has with Glen Ridge. What, are they thinking here? Where's the backup in case an emergency were to coincide simultaneously in the three towns?

Posted by: One for the Road | Apr 10, 2006 8:59:03 PM

not good for mountclair/gr if there really was a big problem.....and it involves many schools and other heavily populated sites. wow, this is major.

Posted by: DiPoz | Apr 10, 2006 9:05:57 PM

"Orange and Montclair share only a very small border, at its southernmost point, near Rosedale Cemetery. "

how appropriate that is as we'll probably all fill the cemetary if this goes through!

this was also in the article that the barista quoted above

"Orange firefighters annually respond to some 2,300 emergency calls each year. Of those structural blazes, an average of 30 require mutual aid assistance from neighboring municipalities, the union officials said. "

better up your house insurance if you live in montclair. and better make it replacement cost because you will be replacing everything when there are fires in glen ridge and orange as your house burns in montclair.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 11, 2006 4:07:19 AM

Will all this activity keep the Montclair firefighters from hanging out in all the delis in town? Getting a sandwich or cup of coffee can be a major production when an entire firehouse is clogging up the works and their truck is taking up 4 or more parking spaces.

Posted by: Pat | Apr 11, 2006 7:05:03 AM

no, by state law they will still be allowed meal breaks.

they travel in the truck so that they are ready to fight a fire at your house.

would you like them to travel in their cars so that they are not available to fight fires?

Posted by: pissant | Apr 11, 2006 7:24:31 AM

They clearly cannot travel in cars for lunch. They are all illegally parked in the entrance way to the bay street station, on both sides, creating a driving hazard. Amazing that people that are supposed to be preoccupied with saving lives care so little about the pedestrians and drivers trying to get in and out of Bay Street Station. It is (quite literally) a crime.

Posted by: loren | Apr 11, 2006 8:36:14 AM

maybe you would like to offer to bring them lunch.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 11, 2006 10:10:12 AM

You can tell who the firefolks are because they come via firetruck but you can't tell who the town employees are who are driving the unmarked but town paid for SUVs.

When is the town going to mark the town provided cars. Why are there so many that are being used 24/7 by township employees.

Posted by: badd_patti | Apr 11, 2006 10:13:09 AM

No - I already pay for their lunch. And most firefighters I see hanging out there look like they could skip a few.

Maybe some excercise - like parking a few hundred feet away - in the lot? If they are going to park illegally anyway, why not park in the lot?

Posted by: loren | Apr 11, 2006 7:54:19 PM

here's another point that i think should be made. How much are they worth? How much our the lives and welbeing of our firefighters worth. it boils down to the fact that with this agreement they will go on more calls, and last time i checked they don't care if a cat get's stuck in a tree in orange. So these would be calls that put them at risk. Are they getting overtime as part of compensation for this extra risk? NO

Is the town going to recieve some type of compensation from the town of Orange.......( excuse me...I mean non-under the table payment)

Posted by: WoHoNative | Apr 11, 2006 10:57:49 PM

loren-It is very easy to criticize, but if you need them you will be the first one begging for them to come and be appreciative for them doing their job followed by more bashing when they leave. Those guys go into situations where ROACHES run out of. Perhaps some of the guys are a little overweight, but they are professionals.

As for sharing services, it is a win for Orange and a loss for Montclair and GR. Orange is down on manpower by up to 12 guys and another 12-18 can retire this year. Because Orange has abused the use of mutual aid other towns that regularly helped them are no longer willing to do so (Bloomfield). The manpower and apparatus will be in Orange more than Montclair unless Montclair taxes are raised to compensate for the "sharing" of protection.

One reason that Montclair and Orange are looking into this is because the governor is offering incentives to towns that share services with Montclair already acting as the poster child by contracting to GR.

Posted by: chubbycheeker | Apr 12, 2006 12:36:32 PM

what about sharing with Verona or Cedar Grove instead? orange doesn't look like a good idea.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 12, 2006 1:08:38 PM

Verona and CG are both volunteer and even though vol ff makeup 75% of the ff in the US, the paid and vols don't often mix well.

Posted by: chubbycheeker | Apr 13, 2006 12:34:10 PM

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