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Firefighters still displaced from vandalism of station

by Briana Barker | Reporter Published: September 28, 2016 12:00 AM

Northfield Center -- Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black says city firefighters will likely be operating out of the fire station in Northfield Center some time this week when cleanup following a vandalism incident is completed.

The Northfield Center Fire Substation closed at 11 a.m. Sept. 19 due to biohazards and vandalism after suspected urine was found on turnout gear, furniture and carpet.

Meanwhile, emergency calls in the township have been responded to by firefighters stationed at the new Sagamore Hills substation, which has had no problems since fire service changed over to Macedonia.

Summit County Sheriff's Deputies are still investigating the incident.

According to the sheriff's office incident report, the vandalism occurred between Sept. 16 at 1 a.m. and Sept. 19 at 11 a.m., when it was reported.

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Macedonia firefighters began staffing the station Sept. 16 after the Northfield Center-Sagamore Hills Fire District disbanded Sept. 14. Sagamore Hills Township forced the district to close after agreeing to contract with Macedonia for fire service earlier this year -- a move that started heated debate about the fate of fire service in Northfield Center. Voters in August turned down a 6-mill levy meant to resurrect the Northfield Center Fire Department, and Northfield Center Trustees agreed to contract with Macedonia as well.

Black said the department had been receiving notes and finding writing on dishes, including phallic symbol drawings and other "eighth grade" tauntings.

"When it rises to people urinating inside turnout gear, it became a biohazard and that's why police are involved," he said previously.

According to the sheriff's report, those found responsible could be charged with a fifth-degree felony count of vandalism of a government office and a second-degree felony count of burglary of a government office.

Black said the building has been made more secure including the locks being changed.

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Trustee Paul Buescher told the News Leader Sept. 26 the township's service department has been doing a lot of cleanup of the building, including painting the walls. He said prior to the vandalizm incident, the township workers had already been doing addressing some things that had been neglected prior to the turnover, such as fixing up the sleeping quarters.

Additionally, Black said a professional carpet cleaner was brought in to disinfect the carpet.

While there yet is no official estimate of all the work being done and items being replaced, the incident report lists at least $2,500 in turnout gear must be replaced.

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432



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