SCS Fire Department busy with calls to start ’22

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 26, 2022

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — While 2021 was a record year for the St. Clair Shores Fire Department, January 2022 has started off busy, as well.

On the fire side, the department has had nearly the same amount of calls as during the same period in 2021. When emergency medical services calls are added in, however, it’s “definitely higher,” according to Fire Chief James Piper.

“We’re on pace for 670-680 calls for January,” he said in the middle of the month. “Last January was slow (with 435 calls), and Januarys tend to be a little bit slower.”

The Fire Department was called to two house fires the second week of the month, one which displaced a family from their home.

Firefighters were called to a home on Sixth Street around 5:50 a.m. Jan. 8 for a house fire.

“Thankfully, the smoke alarms alerted the occupants, and they were able to get everybody out,” Piper said.

No injuries were reported. Roseville Fire Department reported for automatic aid. Although crews quickly began knocking down the fire, by the time they arrived, the fire had gotten into the roof and attic space of the home.

“Unfortunately, they had a fairly sizable fire, toward the back side of their house, that has currently displaced the family,” he said.

He said smoke alarms do a great job of notifying residents, such as those on Sixth Street, early to the presence of fire.

“Smoke detectors save lives,” he said. “They absolutely do.”

A fire at 3:15 a.m. Jan. 10 in the 27000 block of Jefferson Avenue presented differently, according to Piper. The initial report indicated a possible structure fire, but no smoke or flames were seen.

“The crews went in and started investigating ... When they went up to the second floor, there was some smoke there on the second floor,” he said.

Firefighters opened the attic and found significant charring on one of the roof joists.

“The wood was charring and trying to burn but, thankfully, wasn’t actually free burning,” he explained.

The home was released to the residents that night, and no injuries were reported.

The Fire Department ended 2021 with more than 8,400 calls, a record number.

“The statistics of COVID and the year, year and a half that’s going on has kind of skewed the numbers,” Piper said. “Overall, we average about a 2%-3% increase every year. We’d gone up for two years; 2019, we hit our dip year that we expected and 2020, with COVID, everything got super quiet.

“2021 kind of caught things up and then some.”

He said residents should make sure any heating devices, such as space heaters, fireplaces and furnaces, have been serviced and are in good working order.

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