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City of Syracuse explores re-opening fire station

A two-story red brick building with three red garage doors.
Scott Willis
Fire station #7 is on E. Fayette St. near University Ave. It's across the street from newly built multi-story apartment buildings.

The City of Syracuse is trying to assess what it will cost to bring a shuttered fire station back online on the near east side. Fire station number seven on East Fayette Street was closed a decade ago for structural and financial reasons.

The closure forced a reorganization of the department that fire chief Michael Monds says stretches resources and delays some response times. Now, he says that’s even more apparent with new, multi-story apartment buildings near Syracuse University and an overall increase in calls for service. Monds told common councilors in August that he has a solid plan to reopen it and improve their response.

“It would provide more service to downtown to this far near East side and it would help with underserved areas over on the West side because those fire engines are now responding all over the city because of the lack of that station,” Monds said.

The challenge is nailing down a cost. The city is applying for a $3 million state grant toward renovations of the nearly 70-year-old building. But common councilor Chol Majok says it will likely take much more to bring it up to code, including reinforcing concrete floors to support the large fire apparatus.

“If this is going to take $3 million, with numbers changing every day, $3 million may not be...that probably at the most a minimum. What I'm saying here, I would really like to see some hard numbers,” Majok said.

Current cost estimates are based on the building’s condition in 2013. The City’s Chief administrative officer Frank Caliva agrees the need for reopening the station is apparent, but an architect and engineer need to provide a complete assessment.

“The Chiefs plan to right size across the city makes sense for what's going to happen in the future," Caliva said. "But until we have engineering and and the operational plan, it's hard for us to put the numbers to it. But we’re committed to seeing if we can make it work.”

City officials say the timeline of the project is unclear, since it’s dependent on funding.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at