01/06/14 3:30pm
01/06/2014 3:30 PM

Wading_River_firehouseAfter getting the most calls it ever saw in a single calendar last year in 2012, the Wading River Fire Department got a little bit of relief in 2013. Well, barely.

The Wading River Fire Department answered 265 calls in 2013, just short of the 271 they responded to in 2012.

The numbers for the past three years are close, with 2011 seeing 262 fire department calls.

Wading River Fire Chief Jim Evans attributed the increase to population increases in the hamlet and some of the big winter storms that hit the area. The department also gets a lot of calls at Wildwood State Park in the summer, he said.

According to United States Census data, Wading River’s population jumped 15 percent — from 6,668 to 7,719 — in the years between 2000 and 2010.

The department’s Emergency Medical Service ambulance crews saw a two percent increase in the number of calls it received, responding to 803 calls, up from 784 the previous year, according to numbers supplied by Steve Donnelly, the Wading River Fire District secretary.

Mr. Evans said he believes that is also either a department record or close to it.

“Basically, people call the ambulance now more than in the past, and a lot of it is for minor things,” he said.

Like most fire departments, the bulk of the calls Wading River Fire Department responded to in 2013 were automatic alarms, according to the numbers. The department responded to 167 automatic alarm calls, according to the numbers.

“We have more businesses with automatic alarms now, and there are more people on cells who sometimes call in minor things,” Mr. Evans said.

The department responded to 32 structure fires in 2013, which was up from 27 in 2012, but down from the 43 structure fires reported in 2011.

Chief Evans said that number fluctuates from year to year, and not all of them turn out to be working structure fires, but they are called in as such.

The fire department also responded to 18 outside fires, 12 calls for assistance, nine gas leaks, 8 water rescues, six calls for burning wires, five vehicle fires, five vehicle fires, 3 calls responding to odors that might be fires, three smoke investigations, one extrications and one watercraft incident, according to department statistics.

For the Wading River EMS unit, calls for general sickness topped the list with 154 calls, followed by people having trouble breathing, with 111. Falls, at 88, and motor vehicle accidents, at 71, were next, followed by 61 calls for an unconscious person and 51 traumatic injuries.