Wednesday Morning – "Turn Off That Siren!"
The Gnome Handler sent along a clipping yesterday from WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It's a report on a tv story they ran last Wednesday about a very quiet volunteer fire company in nearby Allegheny County. It seems that the Braddock Hills VFD hasn't turned a wheel yet this year. Oh, they've had some fire calls since December, but nobody has been around to respond on them.
When the fire department got a call Saturday afternoon it should have been able to respond right away. That’s because the house on fire was right across the street from the fire station.
But the fire trucks never even left the station.
Neighbor John Little saw smoke pouring from the house on Park Avenue in Braddock Hills. But when he ran to the scene he had a surprise.
"I'm like wow, right across the street from the fire department and they weren't there?" Little said.
The Swissvale Fire Department responded within four minutes and put the fire out. Fortunately no one was injured. Swissvale's fire chief was not overly surprised that Braddock Hills was a no-show.
"The last time I believe one of their fire engines checked in was Dec. 31 of last year," said Chief Clyde Wilhelm.
The article goes on to tell that the Braddock Hills Council is fishing around the neighboring boroughs to see if any of them are interested in contracting out their own FD's services to include Braddock Hills. Mind you, this is four months after their own meagre band of volunteers effectively walked away from their responsibilities.
Going back a couple of weeks, the Forest Hills Patch posted a related story about the Forest Hills VFD being approached by the Braddock Hills Council asking if they would be interested in merging their two departments. For some reason, the BH Council failed to go through the FH Council, instead skipping right over them to approach the VFD directly. That sure doesn't sound like a very competent bunch in the first place, does it?
Anyway, the Forest Hills Council is understandably not excactly embracing the idea. According to the Forest Hills Patch,
Councilman Bill Tomasic said council members never were made aware of the possible talks and negotiations with Braddock Hills. He said the decision ultimately is up to council, and Braddock Hills officials should contact Forest Hills officials in writing.
Tomasic said he is not in favor of a merger. "The word 'merger' is not in my vocabulary," he said."I am not opposed to contracting or consolidation."
Again I remind you that we are closing in on four months without a fire department in Braddock Hills. The Forest Hills VFD President Rick Colella says, "The state encourages [mergers] because they see the lack of volunteers and they reward it with funding."
Ah yes…. those financial rewards!
We'll finish up this discussion tomorrow because it's time now for us to get our own equipment checked out. We still run our calls and we always will, one way or another. And we'll always have the coffee pot on, too. See you back in the day rooom.
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