NEW BUFFALO — The New Buffalo Township Board commended Deputy Brittany Garza of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department’s New Buffalo Township Patrol for rescuing a house fire victim on June 30 during its Aug. 16 regular meeting.
Township Supervisor Michelle Heit read from a police report on an early morning June 30 house fire in the 15000 block of Locke Road in Chikaming Township that included the following:
“The initial 911 call came from a neighbor, who was unaware if the residence remained occupied. Deputy Brittany Garza of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department’s New Buffalo Township Patrol and Sgt. Russ Tillery of the New Buffalo Police Department were the initial emergency responders on scene. Both Deputy Garza and Sgt. Tillery entered the smoke-filled residence, subsequently locating the homeowner inside. Deputy Garza and Sgt. Tillery located the resident, a 55-year-old male, disoriented inside the smoke-filled home. Both officers assisted the male safely out of the residence.
The resident had suffered significant thirrd degree burns across his body, as well as smoke inhalation. He was treated on scene by paramedics from Medic 1 Ambulance and ultimately transported, in serious condition, to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.”
She went on to say that firefighters from Chikaming Township tended to the blaze, its cause remains under investigation, and no emergency responders were injured.
“On behalf of the township we would like to recognize your bravery and commend you for your life-saving efforts,” Heit said while presenting Garza with a certificate of appreciation.
During his Aug. 16 Fire Department report to the Township Board, Chief Jamie Flick said the new Public Safety Building served as a cooling center and an emergency command center for police and other emergency personnel (thanks to its generator) during the previous weeks’ power outage.
Heit praised members of the local departments for spending “most of their time in the fire station” during the power outage, adding that the new facility’s main meeting room and generator got a “baptism by fire.”
Flick said the Fire Department was able to knock down a fire in an unoccupied Michiana home the night before the Township Board meeting.
“There’s some damage up in the rafter area, but the house is still there,” he said.
Flick said about 300 people attended the Aug. 1 Public Safety Day at the new facility along U.S. 12.
“I think everybody had a real good time,” he noted.
The Township Board later approved the township’s $2,218.56 share of a $31,693.82 federal FEMA grant to purchase portable radios and accessories for every firefighter in the department.
Flick said 31 fire stations and four EMS units throughout Berrien County are splitting a FEMA grant totaling $558,000.
After hearing a presentation by Marcy Hamilton of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission on the need to remove some joe-pye weed plants from an area on the lake side of U.S. 12 near Grand Beach where the Marquette Greenway is slated to be established to an area on the other side of the highway where the plants also are currently growing, the Township Board agreed to spend $12,825 on the project (which needs to be done in the near future to avoid a year’s delay). Hamilton said a three-season plant survey is likely to be required, and she will look into having that done.
In other Aug. 16 business, the New Buffalo Township Board:
• Approved a $16,369.80 quote to build a retaining wall and a $9,652.58 quote for additional landscaping work from Naylor landscaping at the Union Pier Trailhead site. Heit said the township plans to ask if the costs can be covered by a $75,000 Pokagon Fund grant for the project.
• OK’d a maintenance contract with Kalamazoo Mechanical Contractors for the Public Safety Building at an annual cost of $3,920.