FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - People in Florence have noticed the big red firetrucks haven't been parked inside the stations. Some are worried that if an emergency were to arise help wouldn't come.
Last week, Fire Station 3 was empty, and this week it is Fire Station 2.
On Tuesday night, the Florence City Council voted to lease two firetrucks for the fire department to alleviate the maintenance problems.
Chief Jeff Perkins and Mayor Steve Holt assured everyone that mutual aid from surrounding fire stations will help in an emergency until the leased trucks arrive. Those leased trucks should come in the next few days, according to the chief.
The city engineer has been working a ton of overtime to get the firetrucks back up and running. Fire Station 3 has their truck back rolling again since Friday.
Some of the fire trucks are 18 to 20 years old.
Next month the city plans to order two brand new trucks: a pumper and a ladder truck. However, it takes about a year to build them. That means the department will have to lease trucks from another department at a cost of about $6,000 per month per truck.
They expect to have the leased trucks for at least two months. The mayor wants to implement regular scheduled maintenance for every truck so that this problem doesn't happen again.
"I want to make sure we get ourselves on a routine maintenance schedule, and we weren't able to do that because when a truck went down and you put a reserve truck in and it goes down then it created a shortage of available engines, so the first thing we will do is lease two trucks for two months to allow our mechanic to do work from bumper to bumper on every truck on our entire fleet," Holt said.
Also, the City Council voted to conduct a study to find out whether emergency responders are getting adequate pay compared to 10 other cities. Right now, Florence needs dozens of new firefighters and police officers. The mayor hopes the results of the study will help them stay competitive with salaries and benefits. The data will take four months to compile.
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