Firefighter, Three Fire Station Model, LaSalle Fire Service

At the Regular Council meeting on January 25, 2022, Council approved administration's report outlining a Three Fire Station Model for the Town of LaSalle. Recommended fire station locations include the existing fire station at 1900 Normandy St., the former Centennial Arena site at 2170 Front Rd., and Laurier Parkway west of Disputed Rd. (site to be determined).

The next steps for implementation of the Three Fire Station Model include a virtual public engagement campaign with residents of the Town shared via our web page Three Fire Station Model and through PlaceSpeak. Administration is in the process of preparing a financial plan report that will be presented to Council at the Regular Council meeting scheduled on March 22, 2022.

"The key factor in the recommendation of additional fire stations is the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 1710 guideline which requires that fire apparatus and four firefighters arrive on-scene within four minutes", says Ed Thiessen, Director of Fire Service/Fire Chief.

The need for additional fire station coverage has been a fire master plan recommendation since the Town of LaSalle Fire Master Plan Report 2008 by Dillon Consulting Services. Council received this plan in March 2009. In 2015, a Fire Master Plan Interim Review was approved by Council with the implementation of recommendations subject to Council approval and budget allocations at the time of proposed implementation.

In 2017, administration recommended a second fire station location at John Dupuis Park on Hazel St., formerly Colonel Bishop School, which was turned down by Council. With the fire master plan being close to 10 years old, administration then engaged Dillon consulting to review and update the master plan, including identifying possible locations for an additional fire station.

In August 2019, the Town of LaSalle Fire Protection Services Master Plan (FPSMP) provided by Dillon Consulting was adopted by Council. Within this plan the proposed two station model included a fire station located in the area of Matchette Rd. and Laurier Dr., and future development of a headquarters in the area of Laurier Parkway, west of Disputed Rd. This plan required the purchase of property that has been challenging and not yet possible.

In mid-2021, administration reviewed potential fire station locations given the underlying operations, staffing challenges and impacts as well as future town development. Since the 2019 FPSMP was written, current information has been provided by the 2020 Development Charge growth projections. Future growth and development indicate a benefit of keeping the existing fire station in its current location on Normandy St. due to the high-density development happening in the Town Centre and providing coverage through the addition of fire stations as the town continues to grow.

At the same time, volunteer firefighter retention has become a challenge for most composite fire services across North America. Currently, LaSalle Fire Service is a composite fire department with 12 full-time firefighters and 32 volunteer (paid-on-call) firefighters. LaSalle Fire Service has had challenges maintaining the full complement of volunteer firefighters in recent years, which has led to challenges meeting the NFPA 1710 guideline. For example, the LaSalle Fire Service has experienced a decline in years of service over the last 20 years by volunteer firefighters of 13 years of service down to an average of six years. "We have confidence in our volunteer force. To date we have been able to provide the appropriate level of fire service and response, however, as these current trends continue with a volunteer complement this will become increasingly difficult," says Chief Thiessen.

The proposed three fire station model is based on moving towards staffing each location with full-time firefighters. The plan outlines that the current fire station should transition from two full-time firefighters to four full-time firefighters as soon as is fiscally possible. In addition, as new fire stations are opened, the target of four full-time firefighters at each location should be achieved. This shift towards more full-time staff was recommended within the 2019 FPSMP, and would be fast tracked in order to allow for the best possibility to continue to meet NFPA 1710 guideline of four firefighters in four minutes and NFPA guideline 1720 requiring 10 firefighters in 10 minutes.

"This is a good plan as we move forward. The cost for additional infrastructure and full-time firefighters will be phased in over time in a responsible manner," says Joe Milicia, CAO. Two of the three proposed stations would be located on land or with infrastructure that the town already owns (current station located on Normandy St. and on the former Centennial arena site on Front Rd.).

Public consultation will be open until Sunday, March 6. The Town will be using PlaceSpeak to share information about the Three Fire Station Model. The Town encourages the community to get involved and review the project resources. To participate in the discussion, the participant will need to create a PlaceSpeak account. This account only needs to be created once, and then the participant will have access to other Town of LaSalle consultation projects, as well as any other projects that are posted to the website.

Residents can also participate by providing feedback in writing no later than March 6, 2022:

Ed Thiessen, Director of Fire Service/Fire Chief
LaSalle Fire Service
1900 Normandy Street
LaSalle, Ontario N9H 1P8       


Mr. Joe Milicia, CAO
Town of LaSalle
5950 Malden Rd.
LaSalle, Ontario N9H 1S4


Peter Marra
Deputy CAO
Town of LaSalle
5950 Malden Rd.
LaSalle, Ontario N9H 1S4