Two years ago, EMS personnel quickly responded to a summer student in distress in the swimming pool at Burr Oak camp at John Burroughs School. Personnel made a very quick rescue, and the youngster recovered quickly.
Another time, police, fire and EMS responded to a resident on Colonial Lane with an apparent heart attack. That person also survived, thanks to the professional and quick action of Ladue’s rescue team.
These are just isolated examples of why Ladue residents value their own independent fire and EMS service and why they have never shown interest in joining forces with any other county fire departments. Much goes the same for St. Louis' inner-urban communities: Clayton, Brentwood, Maplewood, University City, Shrewsbury and Olivette.
Several years ago, firemen helped rescue Carol Buck, widow of the late Cardinals announcer Jack Buck when a porch light malfunctioned, burning her house to the ground.
Ladue EMS were called to MICDS over the holidays to successfully handle a sick case. Becky Young, MICDS' chief financial officer oversees these sorts of activities. "The Ladue Fire/EMS service has been very responsive to emergency situations on the MICDS campus. They have also been extremely helpful when we have consulted them regarding projects," said Young.
This is the view from John Burroughs School.
Andy Abbott, head of the school, counts his blessings with this service.
"We consider ourselves fortunate to be under the purview of the Ladue Fire / EMS Department. In times of emergency, their response time, effectiveness and care have been exceptional.
As we work to assure the safest campus possible, they have been extremely helpful overseeing drills and conducting inspections. When we make changes to our campus (as we are doing now with major construction and renovation projects well underway), their knowledge and professionalism have provided critical insights and guidance. The fact that one of Ladue’s engine houses is but 350 yards from our campus is one of Burroughs’ greatest assets."
Ed Phillips, director of plant operations at Burroughs agrees: "From my perspective, I would describe the Ladue Fire Department as follows: In 30 years of experience, the Ladue Fire Department has provided the quickest response times, been the most flexible considering the wide range of facilities and emergencies that take place on this campus, the most knowledgeable and the most customer friendly fire department that I have ever worked with."
The Ladue School District counts upon the city service in times of emergencies. The district's communication director Susan Dielmann explains. "We are immensely grateful for all the local support we get in protecting our students, staff and buildings.
"We have a long history of working collaboratively and effectively with our law enforcement, fire protection and emergency medical teams in the municipalities we serve, and look forward to that tradition continuing for the health and safety of the Ladue Schools community."
Longtime resident and Ladue finances observer Glenn Jamboretz values this service. "Response times to emergency calls are incredibly short, typically under three minues. That's huge. Most calls are for EMS. Put put yourself in the shoes of a homeowner having a heart attack. Ladue handles more than 500 calls a year. Getting there in three minutes is a great benefit to the citizens," said Jamboretz.
However, Jamboretz thinks the city would have even been better off if the merger of fire houses between Ladue and Frontenac several years ago had not failed. "That would have provided better geographic coverage of the two communities with modern facilities and equipment," he surmised.
Still looking for a new fire chief
The City of Ladue is still in the process of finding a new permanent fire chief, replacing Eric Hinson who was just convicted of federal fraud and tax evasion charges in consort with his part time job with the St. Clair. MO. Fire District. No time limit has been cast in stone to name a new chief.
Former Ladue Mayor Irene Holmes indicated that financial improprieties will never be an issue in Ladue. “The city has its own checks and balances. The only person who can issue checks is the finance director and all checks require the signature of the mayor. Council members review the issuance of all city checks ever month."
Holmes, like so many other residents of Ladue is very pleased with the professional response of the Ladue Fire Department. “Our citizens value the quick response times and the fact that all of our firemen are paramedic trained and can deal with medical emergencies in a timely manner,” said Holmes.
Ladue fire and EMS personnel respond to everything from wrecks on Interstate-64/40 cutting through the community to home kitchen grease fires.
Facts about the department
The Ladue Fire Department’s territory covers 8 square miles. The city maintains two fire houses on either end of Clayton Road, both of which will be replaced soon out of existing city funds.
The fire department employes 32 and has three 10-man crews working shifts that are 48 hours on, 96 hours off.
Engine house one at 9213 Clayton Road serves as administrative offices. Equipment in that house includes an ambulance and a heavy-duty rescue pumper. House two at 9911 Clayton Road has a heavy duty rescue pumper and other fire fighting and rescue equipment. Both fire trucks are outfitted with advanced life support equipment.
The city operates its fire department on a budget slightly over $4 million a year.