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Topic: More from Fred Nett on Engine Co. 7, the Urban Services District, The Mayor, etc.

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Posted by frappyjohn (Msg), 3:56 am Jan 8, 2009:
More from Fred Nett on Engine Co. 7, the Urban Services District, The Mayor, etc.
  • From: Rose/ Fred Nett
  • To: WHAS News Assignment Desk ; WGTK ; Steve Burgin ; Stephen George ; Sheldon Shafer ; Sarah Kelley ; Rick Van Hoose ; Rachel Platt ; Phillip M. Bailey ; Pam Platt ; Melissa Swan ; Melanie Snow ; Melanie Kahn ; Mark Hebert ; LEO-Louisville Eccentric Observer ; Lee Eldridge WAVE TV 3 News Director ; Kelsey Starks ; Joe Gerth ; Joe Arnold ; Jessie Halladay ; Genie Garner ; Gary Roedemeier ; Emily Udell ; Doug Proffitt ; Dick Irby ; Dan Klepal ; Chuck Olmstead ; Business First ; Ann Bowdan ; Andy Alcock ; Adam Walser ; Louisville Public Media - Rick Howlett ; Judy Green ; Barbara Shanklin ; Mary Woolridge ; David Tandy ; Cheri Bryant Hamilton ; George Unseld ; Tom Owen ; Tina Ward-Pugh ; Jim King ; Marianne Butler ; Dan Johnson ; Robert Jenkins ; Darryl Owens ; Joni Jenkins ; Joni Jenkins ; Tom Riner ; Mary Lou Marzian ; Larry Clark ; Jim Wayne ; Denise Harper Angel ; Reginald K Meeks
  • Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 2:41 AM
  • Subject: Fw: Engine #7

In the exchange below with a neighbor citizen, Metro Mayor Abramson repeats a claim that he has a body of data -- indeed "three years’ worth of data" -- which "supports that all of the calls at Engine 7 can be readily absorbed by the surrounding fire stations. Three years of data show that the existing fire stations will be able to not only absorb the calls, but will be able to do so with no impact on response times."

Where is the data? Why does he not release it immediately so that fellow-citizens and Members of Metro Council can also reassure themselves that what the Mayor says is true and that citizens' lives and property, and the lives of those in their charge, are not imperiled by the closing of Engine 7?

On Tuesday, the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council tendered Chief Greg Frederick the attached letter requesting under open records legislation that he make that data and the Fire Model used to generate that data available for independent evaluation by Dr. Wei Song, Jessica McCarty, and other geostatisticians and transportation routing experts in the University of Louisville's Department of Geography and Geosciences. Thus far, despite the urgency of the moment in view of the imminent closing of the firehouse, the Neighborhood Council has received no response from the Chief.

The Louisville Fire Department’s Strategic Plan 2008-2017 (see attached) implementing the Metro Mayor’s “21st Century Fire Plan” itself brings into serious question the Metro Mayor’s claim “that all of the calls at Engine 7 can be readily absorbed by the surrounding fire stations with no impact on response times." This is so because the Fire Department’s Strategic Plan calls for the closing of the two firehouses closest to Engine 7 – 617 E. Breckinridge and 1328 S. Preston -- in the years 2011 and 2012 respectively. The nearest firehouses to Engine 7’s service area will then be the 1936 Fire Department Headquarters at 1135 W. Jefferson in Fire District 1, whose service area is predominantly West Louisville and the Fire District 2 Headquarters at 235 E. Jefferson, whose focus is predominantly the Central Business District and the Medical Complex. Go figure. (To make sense of this, reference the document "Louisville Fire Department Districts, Stations, Companies, and Personnel" attached.)

  • From: Abramson, Jerry A
  • Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009
  • To:
  • Subject: RE: Engine # 7

Dear Mr. Scott,

Thank you for writing me. Engine 7 was a building constructed when Ulysses S. Grant was president. A study of firehouse conditions showed Engine 7 has a number of age-related deficiencies, including floor tiles containing asbestos, lead based paint, and deterioration of load-bearing walls. Keep in mind the building was constructed when horse-drawn water wagons were the latest in firefighting technology. Larger, more efficient fire trucks cannot be housed at Engine 7 because of its size. Finally, Engine 7 was the only station marked for immediate closure without a corresponding merger or new construction by the TriData study three years ago. Even then, an independent study suggested the station’s duties could be absorbed by surrounding houses. The station’s age cannot be the only reason to keep it operational. Also, there are 6 additional fire houses within 2 miles of Engine 7.

I’m surprised that you believe that only a handful of our firefighters are sufficiently trained to handle any special or unusual fire situations anywhere in our city. To suggest that our force is only partially trained or partially efficient is disheartening. Each of our firefighters go through rigorous training throughout the year so they are prepared to handle any kind of fire – even those in Old Louisville.

Our equipment remains the same despite closing Engine 7. The trucks designed to handle low power lines or three-story buildings will still be in use.

The 12 firefighters who worked at Engine 7 will be reassigned to other firehouses within the old city limits. Another 12 (mostly administrative) firefighters will also be redeployed. The end result is not fewer firefighters on staff or on shift, but a better and more efficient use of our current resources.

Again, three years’ worth of data supports that all of the calls at Engine 7 can be readily absorbed by the surrounding fire stations. Three years of data show that the existing fire stations will be able to not only absorb the calls, but will be able to do so with no impact on response times.

LFD didn't have to go through the same type of merger that the police departments did. The fire departments that serve the old county -- the suburban districts -- did not merge with the Louisville Fire Department. They are still stand-alone companies (although some have merged with each other in recent years), and they are supported through a separate tax that goes to their respective suburban department. The urban taxes collected are used for the LFD department.

No one wants to lose a fire station. I’m sure people would like it if there were a fire station on every corner – but that’s simply not the best and most efficient use of taxpayer resources. We never would have agreed to close Engine 7 had the Chief himself (a career firefighter) not recommended it. If the Chief says it can be done safely, I believe him.

Thank you again for writing.

Mayor Jerry Abramson

  • From: Jason Scott []
  • Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 10:32 AM
  • To: Mayor
  • Subject: Engine #7

Mayor Abramson,

I am writing to an elected official for the first time in my life and it has to do with my personal safety that is about to be put into jeopardy. Unfortunately, the mayor I voted for (every time you have been up for re-election) is VERY MUCH jeopardizing the safety of my family and my neighborhood.

First, I completely understand the need to balance the budget and applaud you for attempting to do so. In that, safety of the citizens that pay the city's bills must be taken into consideration. My letter to you today is to plead to you to NOT CLOSE ENGINE #7.

The decision to close this firehouse is based in part by the TriData study using an "average" house - a 2,000 square foot ranch house on a 1/4 acre suburban lot, with easy access. Maybe you have not been to the Old Louisville neighborhood. Please allow me to explain our neighborhood that we who live here LOVE and are trying with LITTLE help from our city to bring the beauty back to this incredible place. You see, our homes were built over 100 years ago, the majority of them 3 story homes with beautiful woodwork and craftsmanship. Many took YEARS to build and are standing today because of the effort and dedication those builders had for these homes. They are built on long narrow tracts of land, with sometimes less that 12 feet between each building. Many have fireplaces in nearly every room. My home has 9, as a matter of fact. None of those "average" houses exist in our neighborhood. Our houses are set back from the street, many are surrounded by a stepped-up, elevated yard, with hanging power lines and historic wrought-iron fences and large trees.

I encourage you to drive through our beautiful neighborhood. It truly is an LIVING outdoor museum. Maybe you weren't aware that Old Louisville is actually the LARGEST Victorian neighborhood in the country -- right in YOUR city! That designation is not something our neighborhood takes lightly. In fact, we are desperately trying to continue to revitalize this amazing community. And the city benefits from the tourist attractions we as a community continue to develop. Have you heard of the St. James Court Art Show? We also have walking tours of our neighborhood, Garvin Gate Blues Festival, Shakespeare in the Park (in Central Park - one of the oldest parks in the city --which is in need of much assistance, by the way), the Conrad-Caldwell Mansion, the Filson Club - which houses an enormous amount of history for neighborhood and the city, and many restaurants and businesses among other things. It's a beautiful place, Mr. Mayor.

But we have other things too. We have high density housing. Quite a few of our large houses are now multiple apartments and condominiums. We have large high-rise and mid-rise apartment buildings. Just across the street from me, Mr. Mayor, is a multi-level and large apartment building called Park Chateau - right across the street from my home and in the Engine 7 response area! We have housing for the elderly, the disabled, halfway houses for those recovering from substance abuse, schools, churches - many beautiful, OLD, historic churches that can never be replaced or rebuilt if damaged. Yes, our neighborhood is diverse and unusual and we are proud to live here.

But, our fire protection services are now in jeopardy. Please, sir, please reconsider this move that you are about to complete. Our neighborhood requires special needs for fire response. We NEED vertical response for these 3 story and high-rise buildings. We NEED nearly immediate response due to the high-density housing we have here. We NEED ladder trucks to remove our neighbors from those high locations if a fire were to occur.

There are other reasons to keep this firehouse open. Yes, they are more historic in nature and seem less important than safety, but are important none the less. Yet another distinction this firehouse has is that it's the oldest, continually manned house in the country, established just 6 years after the close of the Civil War!! The building itself is on the Register for Historic Places. "Old" is not bad, Mr. Abramson. We, here in Old Louisville, are rather partial to "old". We are trying to protect the "old" historic nature of our neighborhood and this firehouse is one important piece of it.

Lastly, Mr. Mayor, there is the financial question you have yet to answer sufficiently. Where does all the money that we taxpayers in the "USD area" go? I am not impressed, sir, by your answer that that question does not need to be answered. You see, if you lived in this neighborhood, which you cared about so much, and you find out that you are paying nearly 4 times (!!!!) the amount of taxes as the rest of the county and then you find out the mayor is about to close a VITAL part of your safety-net that your tax money pays for..... Sir, you would be just as upset and would want to IMMEDIATELY know where the money is going and why is it being pulled from funding a firehouse that serves a VERY IMPORTANT SERVICE.

I live in the response area of Engine 7, Mr. Abramson. I am directly affected by your decision. I live on W. Ormsby Avenue and am truly concerned by your actions. Please, DO NOT CLOSE ENGINE #7. Reconsider this action and let's work together as a community to find other ways to balance the budget. Safety of the citizens in this neighborhood is paramount. This neighborhood is NOT a typical neighborhood and your actions are not taking this fact into consideration. Although Engine #7 covers only a portion of Old Louisville , that portion is as important to the entire Old Louisville neighborhood as any other. Old Louisville wouldn't be the same if (God forbid) a few fires that were not able to be contained quickly enough ruined some of the northern portion of Old Louisville.

It's a new day in politics, sir. The last few years show exactly what can happen when political leaders are left to their own devices. The "USD area" want to know where our funds are going. Your promises were not forgotten. Your leadership assured us that our services would not be affected with a merger. Transparency is vital now sir. Politics is no longer a game of cat and mouse. Show us how OUR FUNDS will protect us BEFORE you implement changes. And take our special needs of the neighborhood into consideration before a hastily-made decision.


  • Jason Scott
  • 521 W Ormsby Ave
  • "Old" Louisville , KY 40203

Chief Frederick:

The Old Louisville Neighborhood Council (OLNC) requests that you provide the documentation and any white papers, scientific publications, memoranda and/or presentations that were produced concerning the Fire Model used by the Louisville Fire Department or its consultant in reaching its recommendation that the Engine 7 firehouse should be closed and its Company disbanded. We are asking a consultant to review the model and perform a sensitivity analysis on the parameters and statistical analyses used to determine that Engine Co. 7 is geographically redundant and appropriate for decommission. Please let us know whom to contact to get this information, and please ask them to assist in making it available.

This letter serves as a request under Open Records.

Thank you.


  • Joan Stewart
  • Chairwoman, OLNC
  • by Fred Nett as agent

Attached is a copy of the Louisville Fire Department Strategic Plan 2008-2017 referenced in my earlier email. You will most likely not find this on the official Louisville Metro Government web pages.


  • From: Rose/ Fred Nett
  • To: ...
  • Cc: Melanie Snow ; Melanie Kahn ; Rachel Platt ; Melissa Swan ; Doug Proffitt ; Gary Roedemeier ; Adam Walser ; Andy Alcock ; Ann Bowdan ; Business First ; Chuck Olmstead ; Dan Klepal ; Dick Irby ; Emily Udell ; Genie Garner ; Jessie Halladay ; Joe Gerth ; Lee Eldridge WAVE TV 3 News Director ; Louisville Public Media - Rick Howlett ; Mark Hebert ; Pam Platt ; Phillip M. Bailey ; Rick Van Hoose ; Sheldon Shafer ; Steve Burgin ; WGTK ; WHAS News Assignment Desk
  • Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 8:12 AM
  • Subject: Metro Mayor's "21st Century Fire Plan" Calls for Downtown and Downtown Neighborhoods (Limerick/Old Louisville, Shelby Park, Smoketown/Jackson) in High-Demand Fire District 2 to Lose 36 Firefighters and Three Firehouses by 2012

The Louisville Fire Department Strategic Plan 2008-20017, adopted this past August to implement the Metro Mayor's "21st Century Fire Plan" calls for downtown and downtown neighborhoods such as Old Louisville to lose the services of three firehouses and 36 firefighters in the next three years. If Engine 7 (821 S. 6th) is closed down this Saturday pursuant to the Metro Mayor's decision contrary to the Strategic Plan, and Engine 15 (1328 South Preston) is closed 3 years from now in accordance with the Strategic Plan, and if Squrt 9 (617 E. Breckinridge) is rechristened Truck 6 and redeployed to the Clifton station in 2011 pursuant to the Strategic Plan, then the downtown and Limerick/Old Louisville area will have lost the fire suppression , emergency rescue and medical response services of three firehouses, their firefighting apparatus and equipment, and at least 36 firefighters.

Read on for details.

Chief Frederick in his Louisville Fire Department Strategic Plan 2008-2017, adopted this past August 2008 -- some three years after the TriData Study was published – and used as a roadmap for implementing the Mayor’s “21st Century Fire Plan” lists under Strategic Goal #3, the following objectives, both to be accomplished within the next 1-3 years:

Objective #3: Acquire property in the vicinity of First and Broadway to construct a fire station. Once this facility is completed, it will house Engine 7 (presently located at 821 South Sixth Street) and Tower 2 (relocated from the firehouse at 235 E. Jefferson Street) (2010). [Note: This objective is already being scratched with the disbanding and shut down of Engine 7 on Saturday, unless Old Louisville succeeds in keeping it open. ]

Objective #5: Acquire property and construct a new firehouse in the vicinity of Poplar Level Road and Clarks Lane. This station will house Truck 9 (currently stationed at 3511 Fincastle Road) along with Engine 15 (presently located at 1328 South Preston Street (2012).

As for Objective #3 under Strategic goal #3, the Strategic Plan adopted just five months ago calls for Chief Frederick himself to take the lead in getting a new firehouse constructed in 2010 in the vicinity of 1st and Broadway to house our Engine Company No. 7 (821 S. 6th) and Tower 2 from the District 2 HQ on E. Jefferson. [Note: It is this portion of the Strategic Plan that is being scotched, at least in part, by the Metro Mayor's decision to close the firehouse at 821 S. 6th and disband Engine Company 7.]

Project #15 - Erect new firehouse at First & Broadway

  • Strategic goal #3
  • 2010
  • Chief Frederick

Furthermore, Prioritized Project #15 furthering Objective #3 under Strategic goal #3, of the Strategic Plan for implementing the Mayor’s “21st Century Fire Plan” calls for Chief Frederick to take the lead in getting a new firehouse constructed in 2012 at Poplar Level and Clark’s Lane to house our Engine 15 (presently located at 1328 South Preston Street).

  • Project #21 – Construct new station at Poplar Level Road & Clarks Lane
  • Strategic goal #3
  • 2012
  • Chief Frederick

Pursuant to Objective #4 under Strategic Goal #3, the Department will implement under the leadership of Chief Frederick himself Project #16, which relocates to the new Clifton firehouse at 300 N. Spring St. Squrt 9 presently located at 617 E. Breckinridge. Redeployed to Clifton, Squrt 9 will be rechristened Truck 6 - possibly to require fewer firefighters onboard. [Note: Fire Chief Frederick has for several years been replacing trucks and engines (four-person pieces of apparatus) with Quad and Quint apparatus, which are supposed to be manned by five and six firefighters. Fire protocols and debatably contract terms require five or six personnel on these apparatus, but Chief Frederick only allows four each, same as for a truck or engine. He camouflages this deviation from protocol by renaming the houses where these apparatus are stationed as either truck or engine firehouses. Some experienced firefighters think this charade is carried out in a campaign to reduce organized firefighter strength and diminish the clout of Local 345, IAFF.]

Strategic Goal #3: The Louisville Fire Department will continue to develop and implement the Mayor’s 21st Century Fire Plan to modernize the Department.

Objective #4: Redeploy Squrt 9 to the new firehouse presently being constructed at 300 N. Spring St. Squrt 9 will be converted to Truck 6 (2011).

Project #16 – Redeploy Squrt 9 as Truck 6 at Spring St. Station

  • Strategic goal #3
  • 2011
  • Chief Frederick

Therefore, if Engine 7 is closed down this Saturday pursuant to the Metro Mayor's decision contrary to the Strategic Plan, and Engine 15 is closed 3 years from now in accordance with the Strategic Plan, and if Squrt 9 is redeployed to the Clifton station in 2011 pursuant to the Strategic Plan, then the downtown, Limerick/Old Louisville, and surrounding neighborhoods will have lost three firehouses, their firefighting apparatus and equipment, and at least 36 firefighters.

The time to act is now - today! -- before the Metro Mayor has drawn a line in the sand. Tomorrow is too late.

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