Expert: 'Copley Place Location is Every Fire Chief's Dream'

A response time expert testified in court at Monday's Copley v. Fairlawn Rothrock Road closure trial.

An expert in calculating response times for emergency vehicles testified Monday that Copley Place's location is "every fire chief's dream."

Robert Krause was called to the stand by Fairlawn's attorneys Stephen Funk and Marshal Pitchford. Monday was in Judge Alison McCarty's court.

Krause has testified as an expert witness at least 100 times, he said, in cases involving response times and someone who has been injured or died as a result of the slow response, medical malpractice and more.

Pitchford and Funk retained Krause, at $250/hour, to calculate the response times from Copley Fire Station 1, Copley Fire Station 2 and to Copley Place, which is on Rothrock, with and without a barrier blocking the road.

See Krause's maps in the media portion of this article.

To map the routes from each location, Krause said he used software that is often used among fire departments to map response times. The software takes into effect the speed limits of each road. He said he also physically goes to the location to drive the routes and see if the times and mileage match up.

In doing so, here's what Krause found:

  • Starting at Copley Station 1 — at 1540 South Cleveland Massillon Road, Copley — Krause drove north on Cleveland-Massillon Road, turned left on Rothrock Road and arrived at Copley Place in 5 minutes and 2.4 miles. This is assuming there is NOT a barrier at Rothrock.
  • Starting at Copley Station 2 — at 4570 Medina Road — Krause drove east on state Route 18, turned right on Springside Drive and continued onto Rothrock Road. He arrived at Copley Place in 4 minutes and 2.1 miles. Krause determined this would be outcome even if there was a barrier at Rothrock because the route wouldn't change.
  • Starting at the Fairlawn Fire Department — at 3525 S. Smith Road — Krause turned right onto Smith Road, turned left onto SR 18, turned left on Springside Drive and continued onto Rothrock Road. He arrived in 4 minutes and 2.2 miles. Krause determined this would be the outcome even if there was a barrier at Rothrock because the route would not change.
  • Assuming there was a barrier at Rothrock Road, here are the results for Copley Station 1: Krause started at the station, headed north on Cleveland Massillon, turn left on Rosemont Boulevard and turn left on Rothrock Road. He arrived at Copley Place in 6 minutes at 3.2 miles.

Krause concluded that even without a barrier at Rothrock, Copley Station 1 does not meet the National Fire Protection Association's standards, which says the first unit must be at a location in 4 minutes or less. He said if Copley Station 2 responded to every call at Copley Place, it would meet the standards.

Even if Copley 2 cannot respond, Fairlawn can. He added that with lights and sirens, all the response times would decrease.

"The target area literally sits in the nexus of three response areas," Krause said. "It's one of the best protected areas in the township. It has three fire departments to respond. That's a fire chief's dream."

Copley attorney Irv Sugerman and Jacob Pollock's attorney Jordan Berns cross-examined Krause and asked whether Krause calculated the time it took to get from Copley Place to the downtown Akron hospitals.

"No," Krause said. "The quality of care that can be delivered in the back of an ambulance is quite advanced. Studies have shown that a more stable, slower transport allows crews to work in the back."

Krause said he had only been in the Montrose area once, which was in April.

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