McCordsville gets firefighter housing

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A modular home provides temporary housing for firefighters at the fire station in McCordsville ahead of a new station slated for next year.

Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter

McCORDSVILLE — Fire and emergency medical service coverage is now based in McCordsville around the clock for the first time in the town’s history.

The fire station in town, which isn’t able to house firefighters for extended periods of time, now has a modular home on its grounds. The Vernon Township Fire Department bought the structure to provide temporary housing ahead of a new station slated for next year.

At 14 by 66 feet, the structure has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining area and living area. Three firefighters are stationed there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Located at 7580 Form St., the fire station in McCordsville houses fire trucks, but it isn’t equipped with sleeping quarters like Vernon Township’s station in Fortville.

“The lack of overnight housing options at the McCordsville volunteer station was a challenge,” said Chad Abel, Vernon Township fire chief, in a news release. “The installation of modular housing will allow us to expand our on-station staffing options beyond our fire station in Fortville.”

It comes as preparations continue for a new Vernon Township fire station near the southwest corner of Mt. Comfort Road and County Road 900N in McCordsville, near a new Leo’s Market and Eatery.

McCordsville’s former volunteer fire department, before merging with Fortville’s to create the Vernon Township Fire Department in 2019, responded to emergencies in the community for nearly 70 years. Firefighters raced from home and work to where fire trucks were housed since 1952, according to the news release.

They started out using a volunteer’s garage as a station before building the station on Form Street.

Over the past three years, Vernon Township’s staffing model has evolved from primarily volunteers to mostly part-time to recently hiring its first full-time firefighters.

Florence May, Vernon Township trustee, recalled how the Vernon Township Fire Territory was formed in 2020 and its levy raised for increasing on-station staffing in both of the township’s towns.

“With the receipt of the new 2021 fire territory funds, we are pleased to announce the 24/7 scheduling of VTFD firefighter/EMTs in McCordsville,” May said in the news release.

VTFD reported this summer nearly half of its runs are in McCordsville, and that average response times are about 2½ minutes slower in town than in Fortville. Meijer and the senior living community Traditions at Brookside, both located in McCordsville, have been the department’s top two run locations over the last two years.

Greg Brewer, a McCordsville Town Council member who represents the town on the Vernon Township Fire Territory Board, told the Daily Reporter that the fire department’s latest development gives him peace of mind and he imagines it does the same for his fellow residents too.

“It’s just satisfaction knowing the hard work put together by all the parties involved has gotten to the goal of giving people that reassurance they now have when they need that help and that assistance, whether it’s medically or because of a fire, those first responders will be able to get to them in a quicker fashion,” Brewer said.

Additionally, VTFD is expecting delivery of two new fire engines by the end of the month. One of the engines will be housed in McCordsville at the volunteer station until the new station is completed. The second new engine will be located at the VTFD station in Fortville.

“A lot of exciting things are happening for the township,” Brewer said. “None of it would’ve happened without the fire board being 100% behind it, but more importantly the tenacity and leadership of Chief Abel getting this task accomplished in such a short period of time.”