UPDATE: HFD ladder truck back in service after repairs

By  | 

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 2/13/19 @ 5:15 p.m.
Huntington Fire Department's Tower 2, a ladder truck that was back in the city garage for repairs on Wednesday, has been returned to service, city Communications Director Bryan Chambers says.

Earlier Wednesday, Chambers said the truck was having an issue with the air horn going off as crews filled it back up with water. They also discovered issues with the oil gauge.

It all came after the city said the ladder truck had to be taken out of service last Thursday when it locked up because it was 14 quarts low on oil. The city says it is the responsibility of firefighters to check the oil levels.

Keep checking the WSAZ App and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 2/13/19 @ 10:05 a.m.
A ladder truck that was returned to service Tuesday afternoon is back at the city garage for repairs.

City of Huntington Communications Director Bryan Chambers says when firefighters took the truck to fill it back up with water Tuesday afternoon, the air horn started going off. They also discovered issues with the oil gauge, so the truck was taken back to the city's garage for repairs. As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, it remains at the garage.

This comes after the city said the ladder truck had to be taken out of service last Thursday when it locked up because it was 14 quarts low on oil. The city says it is the responsibility of firefighters to check the oil levels.

WSAZ asked if the oil gauge issue discovered Tuesday could have played a role in why the truck was running low on oil last Thursday, but Chambers did not have that information.

Chambers says if the truck is needed for a large fire, the city would be able to access the truck. However, in the event of a smaller fire, the city would call for a ladder truck from a surrounding department.

The city says the truck is expected to be put back into service Wednesday afternoon.

Keep checking the WSAZ App and WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 2/12/19 @ 4:10 p.m.
The city of Huntington says they have fixed one out of two ladder trucks.

The city says Tower 2 was fixed Tuesday after facing problems last Thursday evening and later becoming nonoperational.

The city says the ladder truck was 14 quarts low on oil, which led to the department's only active ladder truck locking up.

On Tuesday, they say the truck was fixed and put back into service.

Meanwhile, the departments backup ladder truck, Tower 1, is still out of service facing electrical issues. Their fire/rescue boat also faces mechanical problems.

The city says both issues are being fixed, but they aren't sure when it will completed.

On Monday, members of the community along with retired Huntington firefighters held a rally on City Hall steps -- asking for more funding, better maintenance, and more staffing for the department.

Many say the truck was not maintained because of financial issues in the department. However, Mayor Steve Williams' Office says that is not true.

They tell WSAZ the fire department's budget for the fiscal year is nearly $13.8 million. They say at the end of December the department spent nearly 50 percent of their budget and their spending remains on track.

In terms of vehicle maintenance, the fire department has a budget of $50,000. The Mayor's Office says as of December the department only spent $10,371 on maintaining vehicles.

Since the maintenance problems, the mayor requested an external investigation into how equipment issues at the fire department were not addressed sooner.

The external investigation will be headed up by Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader and City Manager Cathy Burns.

WSAZ requested information from the Mayor's Office and Chief Rader about what will be involved in the investigation, but they say they are holding off from commenting as the investigation continues.

Keep checking the WSAZ App and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 2/11/19 @ 8:42 p.m.
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams has called for an external investigation as to how equipment issues at the fire department were not addressed sooner.

Williams called for the investigation at the council meeting Monday when several dozen people residents showed up to voice their concerns about the equipment problems.

The external investigation will be headed up by Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader and City Manager Cathy Burns.

WSAZ reached out to they Mayor's office asking more information about what the investigation consists of but were not given any answers.

Issues and malfunctions with Huntington fire trucks have led to limitations when crews are responding to fires, according to sources within the Huntington Fire Department.

Both tower trucks are currently out of commission, as is the department's fire/rescue boat. Officials say the boat has been having issues since May 2018 but say they are fixing the boat. A time frame of the repair has not been released.

At this time is it not clear who will handle the investigation. According to a spokesperson for the city, the mayor has asked the fire chief and city manager to come up with a plan of action before the end of the month.



ORIGINAL STORY 2/11/19
Issues and malfunctions with Huntington fire trucks have led to limitations when crews respond to fires.

Both tower trucks are currently out of commission, as is the department's fire/rescue boat. Officials say the boat has been having issues since May 2018 but say they are fixing the boat. A time frame of the repair has not been released.

Sources inside the department say they have been instructed not to speak of the situation, but say the Tower 1 should have been fixed much sooner.

The city of Huntington says in a statement the truck has been out of service since early January for electrical repairs. Tower 2 stopped working on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 7, while leaving its station for a call. They say Tower 2 was 14 quarts low on oil and caused the truck to lock-up. They say it is the responsibility of firefighters to check the oil levels.

While the trucks have been out of service, the city says surrounding volunteer fire departments in Cabell and Wayne counties have provided coverage through mutual aid agreements that the Huntington Fire Department has with those departments.

A HFD firefighting vessel also experienced issues in May of 2018. City officials say that the boat is still being fixed

Sources inside the fire department say they have been instructed to not speak on the situation but say Tower 1 should have been fixed to avoid the city now being without both ladder trucks.

They also say when ladder two was operational, they usually did not have enough staff to use the engine

Another truck (Ladder 14) has been at the maintenance garage and is now decommissioned and was replaced.

The broken equipment has caused some serious safety concerns for citizens who worry that the lack of adequate responding to fires could lead to significant problems.

Huntington City Council is set to meet Monday night, and before the meeting citizens plan to rally outside City Hall at 6 p.m. to express their concerns.

WSAZ will have a crew at the meeting.

Keep checking the WSAZ App and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



 
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus