The St. Joseph Township Fire Department will be no more starting January 1, 2019. Fire Chief David Ringer confirmed that to WANE 15 Wednesday morning.
Township Trustee Sarah Gnagy told WANE 15 that Mayor Henry signed off on the new agreement Tuesday morning and the rest of the township was notified Tuesday night.
The Fort Wayne Fire Department will take over providing fire service for the township. This change is just affecting the unincorporated parts of the township, in which around 5,500 people live. That area was receiving fire service from the township’s volunteer fire department. The rest of the township’s 74,500 residents are already in the city limits and getting FWFD fire protection, Gnagy said.
“It’s giving the unincorporated citizens full 24/7 improved service with FWFD,” she said.
The township’s fire department has long been the center of debate about how it should be run and by who. In 2011, the township decided to disband ambulance service and contract with TRAA. It kept the fire department in a volunteer format.
Fire service was also at the center of a heated race for trustee in this year’s election. Gnagy won the republican primary in May, beating Ringer in that race, and then was re-elected in November.
This story will be updated when more information becomes available.