Fairlawn fire Chief Russell Hose told a judge Tuesday the Copley and Fairlawn jurisdictions are seamless when it comes to fire and EMS calls.
Hose was the lone witness the defense called Tuesday in the civil case pitting Copley officials and a Fairlawn resident suing Fairlawn over the closing of Rothrock Road.
The city closed the road after learning Walmart and Sam’s Club want to relocate from Rosemont Commons in Fairlawn to a 40-acre lot off Rothrock in the township. Walmart wants to build a Supercenter store open 24 hours with a full grocery line, and Sam’s Club wants to add fuel pumps and a mini convenience store.
Fairlawn officials shut off Rothrock Road, just west of Sawgrass Drive, saying they want to protect the residential character of the neighborhood from big-box stores. The plaintiffs say officials closed the road out of spite, in an effort to deter Walmart from building along Rothrock.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty is hearing the testimony in the nonjury trial that so far has been in session 10 days.
Hose testified that if Copley has a fire, it is treated as a Fairlawn fire, and vice versa. A ladder or pumper truck is dispatched as soon as the call goes out, he said.
“Fairlawn would respond with a ladder truck for commercial buildings and a pumper truck for residential,” Hose said. “But mutual-response aid is handled differently for EMS calls. They are not dispatched automatically. They only assist if called.”
He said if additional emergency services are needed, it’s up to the officer in charge to make that call before a neighboring area is dispatched. Fairlawn can usually handle two EMS calls at the same time, he said.
“We depend on each other all the time to help each other out,” the chief said.
Hose offered to the court his own drive-time analysis of various routes to the target areas of Copley Place and Fairway Park Apartments, tracking the time and mileage from all three fire stations that serve that general area. All of his times were shorter than the drive times reflected with Google and Mapquest maps, which were reviewed in earlier testimony the plaintiffs presented.
All comparisons were based on regular driving time, keeping with the regular traffic flow, stopping for lights and following the speed limits, Hose said, and not with sirens, lights and increased speed, which he said would shorten the times.
Hose, 56, said he chose the most common routes based on more than 30 years of driving in the area. He has been a resident in the Copley Township area all his life.
He cited Fairlawn’s response times to Copley Place last year. There were three calls — two were five minutes and one was two minutes. There were two calls to Fairway Park apartments, which was also five minutes, he said.
Hose testified that the road closing does not affect travel routes or response time to Rothrock Road, because Copley Fire Station 2 would not use the southern portion of that road and neither would Fairlawn if it responded. The fire units would use state Route 18 because of the size of their vehicle and load, then they would go down Rosemont Boulevard.
Testimony will resume July 11 with the defense expected to wrap up its case. Closing arguments tentatively are scheduled for July 13.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.