Fire Chief makes more requests

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Just shy of the completion of the third fire station on U.S. Highway 80 East and with the city&8217;s finances becoming even tighter, Fire Chief Ron Few had two more requests to bring up to the City Council at Thursday&8217;s meeting.

Few&8217;s first request was related to the council&8217;s previous decision about getting a new trailer for fire station No. 2. For some time now, the firefighters who work their shifts at the station have had to deal with an unwelcome visitor: black mold.

To remedy the health hazard presented by the mold, Few sought out a new trailer to replace the current one. At an approximate cost of $3,000 Few already purchased a new trailer, and it will cost another $820 to get the trailer shipped to Demopolis and installed.

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Although the council already voted to declare the current trailer surplus and sell it at an upcoming surplus sale, several of the councilmen had doubts about the practicality of the exchange.

Councilman Jack Cooley said he spoke with two manufactured home dealers this week about the cost of having mold removed. According to their estimates the mold could be removed at a cost of $500. Another issue, according to Cooley, is the mold will come back unless the trailer is installed properly.

The council took another vote to allow Few to move forward with installing the new trailer and selling the other as surplus. With Cooley abstaining from the vote, the motion passed. But Cooley again raised his concerns about avoiding this situation in the future, saying this new trailer should be installed properly.

The next request before the council for the fire department involved the purchase of a new vehicle. Few said with recruits going back and forth to fire college, he has had to lend out the city vehicle he has been using, which leaves the department short on transportation. In the interim, he told the council he had been using a vehicle loaned to him by the police department.

Another issue, according to Few, is the need for another vehicle to be equipped with command center capabilities. Before the meeting, Few collected bids for a potential vehicle from both local and out of town used car dealers. One of the stipulations for the vehicle was that it must have less than 25,000 miles. Three bids were returned for the vehicle, but Few said he had not actually looked at any of them.

But before a decision was made, Cooley brought up the notion of renting vehicles for times when recruits attend fire college, which had been done in the past.

Councilman Melvin Yelverton had another concern, asking why he did consider the purchase of pickup truck in favor of a sedan. Few&8217;s response was he had never been in a department where pickup trucks were used as command vehicles.

After more discussion, the council voted to approve the purchase of a vehicle at Few&8217;s discretion with Yelverton abstaining from the vote, Cooley voting now and Mayor Cecil P. Williamson voting yes.