We must ask "WHY?"

We must ask "WHY?"

WHY?

WHY?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A blast from the past

I was asked to post this by a friend.
It's from the Wilkes-Barre Online Archives Hosted by Mark Cour Sept 7, 2004.

"Let's cover this...
...Sturdevant Street fire from the other night.
First off, this is not meant as a criticism of our fire department rank-and-file, their union reps, or our elected officials. As many of you know, I listen to my scanners from the moment I get out of bed until I head back to said bed at the end of each and every day. I have listened in while many structure fires were being fought and I also attended quite a few.

I followed that fire from 1 AM when it was toned, 'til 3:15 AM when it was 10-24ed. The original word from 911 was "Flames are showing. Possibly have an entrapment on the second floor." Right away, I'm thinking: "Yikes!" Now I knew Engine 3 and Medic 3 would be on scene real quick, but after that, all bets were off with two engines being recently put out of service and the rest of the apparatus playing musical chairs to some degree. Within eight minutes, the very first responders were on scene and had requested a second alarm. At that moment, Engine 9 rolled from North Station and arrived at the fire ground exactly nine minutes later. Sorry kiddies, but when we're talking fully involved structures and burned children-that's just too slow of a response.

Without an engine staged at HQ and without an engine staged at the now defunct NE station, we're spread a bit far and wide when a calamity actually presents itself.

Another problem. At 1:12 Medic 3 reported: "We've got this kid loaded up. We're gonna head to the LZ." Two minutes prior, Medc 3 had alerted 911 to alert a Life Flight helo, 911 responded that they'd need an engine to set-up the Life Flight LZ, and F-6 told 911: "County. Try Hanover Township." We've had structure fires much bigger than a single family dwelling before, but we never needed an outside department to man our LZ with their engine. Not that I've heard, anyway. But it gets worse.

At 1:25 AM, 911 alerted F-6 that "You have a 3 minute ETA from Hanover Engine 5 to the LZ." So, we were looking at 18 minutes just to man an LZ with an engine. And this is with a burned kid hanging in the balance. Again, correct me if I'm way off base, but this was another first for this Scanner Land junkie.

1:28 AM: "Command to County. Put in a full third alarm."

Yet, at 1:20 AM, the call went out to put the reserve engine in service with off-duty fire fighters yet to report. And then later, the second reserve engine was requested. That's another first for me. The second reserve engine??? I could go on. Despite being a slacker in college and such, I take superb notes on the fly.

The fire fighters handled this situation with their usual professionalism and I expected nothing less, but it's obvious to me that the deployment of our apparatus is not what we need it to be, which is a direct result of putting two engines out of service indefinately. And I think this situation needs to be rectified before...before we suffer a tragedy that could have and should have been averted.

Everybody wants those engines back in service. The fire fighters. The union guys. The politicos. And the residents. Especially the Nord End residents that have recently lost much more than just their local fire engine.

But still the question begs. If everyone involved wants those engines back in service, why aren't they?

I'm still awaiting that seemingly elusive answer.

Later"

Well put, But now we have even less while paying more taxes.

Dan Emplit WBFD

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