New Fire Zones Approved in North Buffalo

East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney (standing) has been working on new

East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney (standing) has been working on new “zones” for volunteer departments that respond into North Buffalo Township for a few months, and supervisors approved of the new map last night.

by Jonathan Weaver

Volunteer fire companies that service North Buffalo Township will have designated zones to protect, possibly as soon as this weekend.

East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney proposed working on re-drawing the zones after a July non-reportable accident along the Judge Graff Bridge attracted emergency crews from six neighboring departments.

Chief Feeney said most homeowners are now in designated zones so that “first-alarm” fire companies from Applewold Borough, East Franklin Township, Kittanning Hose Company #1, Ford City, Ford Cliff, West Kittanning, and Worthington-West Franklin fire departments are within five miles of their property.

However, some residents could live as far as six miles away from a fire station. North Buffalo Township is approximately 25-miles.

“Everything’s done – we did several revisions on it,” Chief Feeney said. “We had a couple changes we had to make to realign some things for the insurance company.”

Chief Feeney said fire personnel from the volunteer departments also have the responsibility of maintaining updated paperwork for passable insurance ratings.

“The lines are a reference, but it’s not a dead-straight line,” Chief Feeney said. “We’re not cutting a house in half. There’s a lot of work identifying each residence in that zone.”

He explained at least four fire departments will respond to a house fire and at least two departments will jointly cover emergencies such as gas leaks, vehicle accidents and brush fires.

After an executive session with fire department personnel, supervisors David Wolfe, Clark Whiteman and Paul Kirkwood adopted the designated zone map unanimously at their monthly meeting last night and thanked fire department personnel for their diligence.

“They’ve done a great job for the township,” Wolfe said.

Fire departments responded to a pair of emergency calls in the township during the past month.

Supervisor Chair Wolfe and Chief Feeney are to review the plan with Armstrong 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers in Rayburn Township as soon as later this week.

Also, Chief Feeney was unanimously named North Buffalo Fire Marshal.

Supervisors are also to discuss maintaining a fire engine at the township building to enable quicker response if possible.