Berlin Township Fire Department officials said the biggest problem with the U.S. Route 36/state Route 37 corridor is insufficient water pressure from the hydrants.
“One of the problems up here in Berlin Township is the water pressure is not really great from Del-Co Water,” said Fire Chief Craig Hall. “It’s not their fault because the closest tower is in Leonardsburg. The most it flows now is around 350 gallons a minute. When we go into a house fire, we would like to have at least 1,000 gallons a minute.”
The Berlin Township Board of Trustees approved a measure in October 2017 involving the rezoning of 24 acres of land, 5565 state Route 37, Delaware, along U.S. Route 36/state Route 37 from Farm Residential to Planned Industrial. The decision only left residents with one alternative when they felt their concerns weren’t being addressed, petition for a referendum to be placed on the May ballot.
This Tuesday, May 8, Berlin Township voters will face the referendum, which gives them the chance to decide whether or not to overturn the trustees’ decision to rezone the property.
However, as part of the industrial park/concrete plant proposal, Savko Brothers Properties has promised to set aside 2.4 acres of the property for a future Del-Co Water tower.
“What Marty (Savko) has presented to the zoning office is a site for a water tower which will help with increased water flow and pressure for this whole immediate area,” Hall said. “It will help everywhere, the neighboring townships and everybody.”
“We didn’t even ask, he offered it to us,” said Capt. Mark Carey of the BTFD. “He came to us and said it will be here for us to utilize.”
Carey said when the RV dealership on U.S. 36/state Route 37 caught fire in 2014, all of the water had to be trucked to the site of the fire. He said the township’s fire department called in other departments outside of the county to help truck water to the fire. When the American Legion caught fire, again the water had to be trucked in to fight the fire.
“Because of the size of the buildings, we needed a ton of water,” he said.
Carey said with a water tower, the hydrants will be supplied with the water the department needs.
However, the tower is in the future and will not go in at the time the industrial park is constructed.
“Until that tower is up, Savko will have an interior tank of 10,000 gallons,” said Michael Shade, attorney for Savko. “They (the fire department) can come in and shut the plant down. How many business leaders can afford to be paying people and having their business shut down for the benefit of the community?”
Both Hall and Carey were scouting the property of the proposed industrial park/concrete plant Monday for future training exercises. Savko has offered the house in front of the property to the township’s fire department to be used for training purposes.
Hall said the department isn’t going to burn the house because it is to close to 36/37. He said once the department is done with the building, Savko will come in and tear it down.
“It is a huge benefit because we’re able to train all of our personnel within the department on their own time,” said Carey. “We don’t have to send them out to academies, and we don’t have to pay the fees that are involved. A lot of things that we’ll be able to do with this house could very easily cost us $400 to $600 per individual to take the training. That’s a huge savings to us.”
Hall added it’s also a huge savings to neighboring departments that will be invited to train alongside Berlin Township.
Both Hall and Carey said they didn’t see a downside to the proposed industrial park/concrete plant.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.