WASHINGTON — The Washington fire station is one of the busiest places in town.
Calls to the Washington Fire Department have increased nearly 10 percent in each of the past three years, and almost 41 percent since 2008, Fire Chief Roger Traver told the City Council last month in his monthly report.
Here are the fire department's call numbers since 2008:
2008: 1,167 calls.
2009: 1,149 calls.
2010: 1,237 calls.
2011: 1,253 calls.
2012: 1,278 calls.
2013: 1,390 calls.
2014: 1,393 calls.
2015: 1,251 calls.
2016: 1,366 calls.
2017: 1,500 calls.
2018: 1,644 calls.
Traver identified a couple of reasons for the continuous increase in calls.
"Our population is growing and we have an older population," he said.
Plus, he said, three assisted living centers — Supportive Living of Washington, Grand Victorian of Washington and the Villas of Holly Brook-Washington and Reflections Memory Care Center — and the 68-unit Mallard Way apartment complex have been built in the city in the past several years.
One of the fire department's most notable calls last year didn't even take place in Washington. A grain elevator along U.S. Route 24 just west of Eureka exploded and caught fire July 30, and an aerial truck from Washington was sent to douse the top of the elevator.
The explosion was felt in Washington, about seven miles away, and the debris field extended 300 to 500 feet.
There were no injuries, thanks in large part to a case of good timing.
The explosion and fire were reported at about 6 a.m., when employees of the Grainland Cooperative normally report for work, but employees were told not to come to work until 7 a.m. that day because a large amount of grain was expected to be processed.
The Washington Fire Department is dealing with all its calls with a roster of 48.
The roster includes 25 volunteer paid-on-call firefighters, 16 full-time paramedics, two office and one support personnel, and five probationary volunteer firefighters. Some paramedics also are volunteer firefighters.
There's always a need for additional volunteer firefighters, Traver said.
Interested? Stop by the fire station at 200 N. Wilmor Road or go to the fire department's website at www.washingtonfd.com and click on "Recruiting."
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.