PALMER RAPIDS – After multiple firefighter resignations and three fire trucks failing pumper tests, Brudenell-Lyndoch-Raglan Township Council is now urging the fire chief to come up with a concrete plan for the fire department.
It was the focus of conversation at the regular meeting on July 3 in Palmer Rapids.
The evening began with a deputation from Mike McCloskey, executive director of Citizens for Public Safety. McCloskey resigned from the fire department and the five-year planning committee in May.
The planning committee was set up by council and consisted of members of the fire department to come up with options, which would address issues like firefighter recruitment and retention, aging equipment, efficiency and firefighter safety.
“Nine months ago, I had envisioned that we would be at a time when we would be unveiling a new revitalized, legally compliant, technically competent fire department,” McCloskey told council. “[Instead,] we have had a series of distortions and distractions and public posturing. We had the loudest voice in the room belonging to the most ignorant.”
McCloskey said there has been too much personal pride and that people do not like to be told that a certain plan does not work or make financial sense.
“I laid out, very systematically, the challenges and dangers eight months ago,” he said. “After eight months of distractions, the storm is here and we are unprepared.”
He was referring to the three out of four trucks that failed their pumper tests and the recent resignations of three more firefighters.
“If you follow the gradual flow of resignations, you have the gradual disintegration of the fire department,” he said.
McCloskey addressed the “elephant in the room”; a letter that he had sent to council asking for an OPP investigation on a meeting that occurred on June 25.
At that meeting, Fire Chief Chris Voldock brought representatives from Asphodel, a company that sells emergency vehicles and the same company that performed the pumper tests on the township’s fire trucks.
The owners presented council with leasing options, which would allow the township to lease two trucks for around $55,000 per year for 10 years.
Get your July 9, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.