Incident on Union Street leads to new sign
By Barb Pert Templeton
When responding to an emergency call about a fire the last thing local agencies want to have to contend with is not having a clear path to move their equipment down a residential street.
Yet that’s what happened to members of the Marine City Area Fire Authority plus several other responding agencies in mid-December when they were summoned to fire on Market Street in the city.
In fact, in a phone interview on Feb. 1, Marine City Area Fire Authority Chief Joseph Slankster
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said there were actually two incidents in a row, two nights in a row, at the location off Market and Union streets where parked cars made it difficult for emergency vehicles to get by.
He said the initial call was for a garage fire and it was totally engulfed in flames and ended up being a total loss. The next night the house next door to the garage had an electrical issue because the garage fire had burnt up their wiring, Slankster said.
The incidents prompted the fire chief to seek a Traffic Control Order from the local police department to stop the parking of cars along Union Street going forward.
At a Jan. 20 meeting of the Marine City Commission Police Chief Jim Heaslip told officials that Slankster made a request to have an order be drafted regarding parking on Union Street between Main and Market streets.
“It will prohibit parking on the south side of the street and I will let Chief Slankster describe his issue there,” Chief Heaslip told the commission.
Slankster then addressed the commission explaining the incident that took place in December when they had a fully involved structure fire on south Market Street. He said when their first engine came off the bridge and onto Market Street things went fine but it could not make the turn leaving Main Street to turn onto Union Street because there were cars parked on both sides of the street.
“It took us time to backup and get straight on and be able to squeeze through there and we had St. Clair and Algonac coming and once they got parked, they had to back up and get their equipment out of their trucks because the cars were so close to that intersection,” Slankster said.
He added that the city’s Department of Public Works Director Michael Itrich told him they have a similar problem when trying to plow snow in that area and “it’s a tight corner.”
Mayor Cheryl Vercammen asked if they were talking about just one side of the street, not signs for both?
Chief Heaslip said that’s correct and if they have to change the verbiage in the order to read south side instead of the north side, based on what MISS DIG recommends after the service locates phone lines, they will do so.
The commission unanimously approved the new traffic control order.
After the meeting, Slankster said both sides of the street in question are in a residential area. When asked if the new no parking sign might be a burden to homeowners needing to park in the street Slankster said he happens to know that those who park there now don’t even live on that street.
“That’s not the reason for this order though, it’s because we couldn’t get our fire trucks threw there,” he added.
The parking sign that will be ordered and installed by the city’s DPW will state parking is prohibited at all times. Slankster said he wasn’t sure how long it would take to get a sign in place but he knows MISS DIG has to come out first and figure out which side of the street would be best for the signs’ placement.