A rural Sheridan man wants to know why a fire station less than five miles from his Marion Township home is not the first one called in an emergency.

Leo Milus, 9196 E. 300 North, said Monday, March 22, “it’s not making a lot of sense to me” that equipment from Zionsville Fire Department’s Station No. 92, on U.S. 421, can’t be sent first to his home.

Richard Hendricks, the Marion Township Trustee, said Monday he is planning to meet with ZFD to find “the best possible scenario” for expanding fire coverage.

Hendricks said he had talked with ZFD Deputy Chief Brian Miller Monday about setting up a meeting.

Milus told the Boone County Commissioners on March 15 that Hendricks told him he would have to contact them to make arrangements for alternate fire protection.

Under Indiana law, township trustees are required to make fire protection arrangements.

Milus gave the commissioners a packet outlining national standards for fire response times. Using the Google Maps Web site to estimate response times, Milus determined that units from station 92 could reach his home in approximately eight minutes; Sheridan FD trucks would take 18 minutes.

Commissioner Marc Applegate said Marion Township “should probably pursue an automatic aid agreement” with the Zionsville Fire Department. That will allow 9-1-1 operators at the Boone County Central Dispatch headquarters to start firefighters from both stations.

“But,” Applegate said, “the two parties that need to meet are the Zionsville Fire Department and the township trustee and board.”

Hendricks said there is a 3-to 3.5-minute difference in response times between Sheridan and station 92 to the Milus home, under ideal circumstances.

“I agree with Mr. Milus; it would shorten up the response time” if station 92 were dispatched first.

“I want the best possible response time we can have,” Hendricks said.

Economically, however, it may not be possible. This will be the first year Hendricks has had to borrow money to operate township government, he said.

“I just hope it doesn’t get down to economics,” he said.

Milus said Monday he became concerned about response times after a Thanksgiving Day fire at a neighbor’s garage/workshop.

A passerby saw the smoke and warned the neighbor, Milus said. “He was in there battling it with commercial fire extinguishers,” Milus said.

The Sheridan Fire Department, at 506 S. Main St., Sheridan, has a contract to provide fire and emergency medical protection to Marion Township. Sheridan’s station is 9.7 miles from Milus, much of it on gravel-surfaced CR 900 E. The Milus home is 4.6 miles from station 92, Milus said.

Zionsville has a tanker, an engine and an ambulance based at station 92, but the station is not staffed 24 hours a day, Hendricks said.

Before station 92 opened, “we never had the luxury to go somewhere else” for fire protection in Marion Township, Hendricks said.

Although the extreme western part of Marion Township is “a little closer to Lebanon” than to Sheridan, Hendricks said, SFD has covered Marion Township “as far back as I can remember.”

Marion Township covers just under 50 square miles in the county’s northeast corner. Its estimated population in 2000 was 1,359.

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