Firefighter warns board: aging equipment will fail
Plymouth Township Fire Engine E-2 with utility vehicle in 2012
Jun. 7, 2013 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
The Plymouth Township Police Department will soon be adding two new Ford police interceptor vehicles to their fleet. Township officials approved the $69,232 purchase at the regular board of trustees meeting last week, noting that the vehicles will be purchased with money from the drug forfeiture fund.
Each vehicle will require another $7,000 in conversions and modifications, according to township documentation.
Citing the need to replace two patrol units, Police Chief Thomas Tiderington and Police Lt. Robert Antal said the 2009 and 2010 Crown Victoria sedans each had over 120,000 miles, and maintenance and repair costs were escalating while the resale value was dropping. In the departmental budget request they recommended the vehicles be purchased under the State/County program to take advantage of special pricing offers and noted that the “new vehicles would provide officers and citizens with safe reliable vehicles that reflect on a township that cares about its employees as well as the professional image that each officer strives to maintain.”
Long–time township resident Susan Bondie said she thought it was equally important to review the fire department equipment and questioned the fire chief and the board members about the age and condition of the fire and ambulance equipment. At a previous board meeting Trustees Robert Doroshewitz and Chuck Curmi asked for complete accounting of the fire department staffing levels and status from Supervisor Richard Reaume and Treasurer Ron Edwards, which has yet to be provided, they said. Fire Chief Mark Wendel responded to
Bondie’s question and said that the three fire engines in service were model years, 1989, 1993 and 2000, and said that the township has three ambulances in service. He said one of those emergency vehicles was a 1999 model and two were 2003, “…having 70- 80-90 thousand miles.”
After the meeting Wendel indicated he had, “many times asked” for new equipment for the fire department. “Anyone who says I haven’t asked is an out-and-out liar,” he said.
At a previous board meeting, Wendel refused any comment about the lack of aerial or ladder equipment in the township fire department.
“They keep putting this off,” Curmi said near the end of the meeting when there was no report forthcoming regarding the staffing and equipment at the fire department which he and Doroshewitz had requested. During the May 14 meeting of the board, fire department Lt. Dan Atkins, president of the firefighters union, who is also a shift commander, asked the board if he might be able to have some input into the requested report. Adkins, obviously emotional, told the board that “it’s a bubble getting ready to pop.”
“It is getting bad out there. I’m a shift commander and I can tell you, it is bad. I think if I’m part of it and work with the chief we can get some things taken care of. We need to work together to do something to make it better for all the people out there,” he told the board members.
Reaume told Adkins, who spoke during the public comment portion of the agenda, that they would “go through the department head” for the report.
The fire department currently has only 12 full-time members and only four professional fire firefighter/EMTs on duty during each shift.
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