By Steve Page
The Madison Township Fire Department may be on to something.
When threats of tumultuous weather Friday night forced the department to postpone its Freedom Celebration and Car Show, all was not lost.
In fact, moving the day- (and night-) long event to July 22 may have an advantage of sorts. The show is a fundraiser for the department’s community outreach.
“It will be a complete mirror of today; just on the 22nd,” Anthony McClure, the department’s new chief, said Friday afternoon. He noted that the department just went under a severe thunderstorm watch. “Attendance could decrease, but today, we are competing with lot of other holiday events around us. People will still come to our event on July 22.
“Our event is pretty popular: 1,500 to 2,500 people show up for it. It’s a Madison Township thing, but we get a lot of people from Decatur Township. They know we put on a good show. Hopefully, we’ll have the same good attendance.”
The show again will be held adjacent to MTFD Station 32, 7047 E. Landersdale Road in Camby. It will feature the same everything – food trucks, bounce houses, a car show from 2 to 5 p.m. and fireworks at dark.
McClure, whose promotion from deputy chief to head chief came on June 22, has plans for improvements. He will be assisted by new deputy chief Mike Beisel.
“He’s a paramedic, so he knows the ALS (Advanced Life Support) business,” McClure noted. “I’m an EMT, so his addition to the department is very good. It’s a good opportunity for him to be able to make things stronger and better.”
That, says McClure, is the general idea.
“I was Deputy Chief when, in early 2023, we developed a strategic plan for the department,” he said in a recent blog. “As we have been operationalizing that plan, I still believe it is a strong plan that I intend to execute and adapt as we learn and grow.
“That said, there are a number of priorities I intend to focus on immediately. These include staff recruitment and retention, team building, our EMS system, and community outreach programs. I believe that the inclusion of others in the development and execution of plans will be key to our success. As such, I intend to work with full transparency and inclusion of people with a diversity of perspectives.
“Value Driven – Mission Focused” is my determination to succeed.”
McClure joined the MTFD in May 1995 – serving as a paid standby member of the department. Shortly thereafter, he and his family relocated to Madison Township and he became a volunteer for the department. During his tenure at MTFD, he has served in many different roles.
Tony and his wife Denise, have five children and have lived in Madison Township since 2007.
The MTFD itself started in 1955 when local citizens realized that they needed fire protection. Founded by Floyd Mason and Russ Lambert, the first station was housed in a borrowed garage at what is now Taylor’s Market at S.R. 144 and Kitchen Road.
Now there are two stations, with the other, Station 31, located at 10023 N. Kitchen Road in Mooresville.
When requested, the MTFD will also assist departments in Decatur Township and Mooresville.
“One of things I pride myself on, going back to the late ‘90’s, is our ISO rating,” McClure said. “They (members of the Insurance Service Organization) come out and rate your fire department, with No. 1 being the best. Our ISO rating currently is a 3. That tells me how prepared we are to respond to and mitigate situations.
“We’re just a few points off. So we could be an ISO 2. There are very few Class 1 fire departments in the nation. There are a lot of Class 2’s, 3’s and 4’s. We’re working on getting that 2. We won’t be a 1, because everything south in our district is non-hydrated (no water hydrants). A Class 1 would have fire hydrants every 500 feet.”
Of potentially getting the Class 2 listing, McClure said, “That’s one that really sticks out. That’s an achievement.
“Right now, we have three engines, one quint, which can do both, and it has a 75-foot ladder. We have a grass truck, bed trucks and staff vehicles, with a 2,000-gallon tanker, which comes handy in non-hydrated areas. It’s a small fleet.
“We have a roster of 40 people. It’s a combination full time and part-time dedicated. We border the 12th-largest city in the United States. It’s a tall order for a small staff. But we do all we can do.”
To the rescue:
Madison Township Fire Department firefighters are always ready to chase fires in Camby, Mooresville and surrounding communities. Two weeks ago, they went well beyond that. Someone called the department,
relating that a group of baby ducklings had fallen through a grate and into a drainage tunnel.
The firefighters on this “non-emergency” call responded. They pulled the grate away from the drain, and firefighter J. Jackomis dived in and grabbed all the ducklings. The firefighters then reunited the ducklings with their relieved momma duck.
A Madison Township Fire Department pumper truck rests outside the station on Landersdale Road.