Fairlawn attorneys called their second to last witness to the stand in the Rothrock Road closure trial, and he said closing the road will not hurt Copley Township's ability to respond efficiently to Copley Place.
Fairlawn fire Chief Russ Hose testified in Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty's court Tuesday morning. Hose has been with the for 30 years.
"Copley Place is one of the best served areas you can have in Summit County," Hose said. "It's triangulated between three fire stations that have fire response vehicles and EMS vehicles."
Hose said he doesn't know of any other facility in Summit County that has that kind of emergency service available to it.
Over the last month of trial, several of Copley's witnesses have testified that barricading Rothrock Road at Sawgrass and adding an emergency gate at Rosemont Boulevard
However, Hose said if the emergency responders, namely ambulances, came from Copley Station 2 on Medina Road, the responses wouldn't be slowed. He added that if Station 2 was unable to respond, Fairlawn ambulances could respond in about the same time frame.
Copley Township, Bath Township and Fairlawn share a mutual aid and auto response agreement between each police and fire station, Hose said. If an emergency fire call goes to Copley, all three departments automatically respond. If a medical call goes to Copley, only Copley responds, unless it asks for help from Bath or Fairlawn, he added.
Hose said he drove from each fire station to Copley Place, assuming Rothrock is closed, and calculated the milegage and time it took him to drive with the flow of traffic. Bottom line was it took longer for Copley Station 1, on Cleveland-Massillon Road, to respond to Copley Place, and that Station 2 should be sent on those emergency calls.
"I spoke with the mayor (William Roth) in 2011 and he asked me if the gate was moved from Rothrock to Rosemont if we would be able to service Rothrock," Hose said. "I said 'yes' because Copley Station 2 is the closest station to that corridor. Fairlawn is the second closest."
He added, "I know Fairlawn is centrally located and it's about one mile to each of our borders. I knew where Copley Station 2 was, I've been driving these streets for 30 some years as a fireman. And (Copley fire) Chief Mike Benson testified that Copley Station 2 is closer. Copley Station 1 is a redundancy."
During his testimony, Hose also said the plan for the water barricades has changed: Instead of using a pin to keep the barricades together, similar to a door hinge, the barricades will simply free-stand so responders don't have to remove the pin to nudge the barricades with their cars.
Copley Township attorney Irv Sugerman questioned Hose about this change and said it was the second time the barricade plan has changed since it has gone to court.
"You testified earlier this month that you thought of water barricades in April and now you're changing the plan again to take out the pin," Sugerman said. "Where did you come up with the idea to remove the pin?"
Hose answered, "It was after you asked me what the purpose of the pins was. I went back to (Fairlawn Deputy Service Director) Ernie Staten and talked to him about it and we decided we didn't need them."
Court will continue on July 11 and Fairlawn will call its last witness to the stand: Mayor William Roth.