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Boardman fire chief ordered to reopen 2 stations

Published: Wed, January 6, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Rick Rouan

Union officials say the department does not have enough firefighters to safely staff all three stations.

BOARDMAN — Today marks the reopening of two satellite fire stations that the township closed in September because of money woes.

Township trustees on Tuesday ordered that the fire department reopen the South Avenue and Shields Road at Lockwood Boulevard stations, which were closed on a rotating basis. But union officials are not convinced that the department has enough firefighters to safely staff all three stations.

The department has 32 firefighters working two 11-man shifts and one 10-man shift, Fire Chief James Dorman said. When all firefighters are available for their shift, each satellite station has three firefighters, and the remainder work at the main station.

To keep all three stations open required all 10 firefighters on duty, Dorman has said. Now, however, trustees ordered that only the contractual minimum of eight be on duty to keep all three stations open.

With only eight firefighters on duty, the two satellite stations would be reduced to two firefighters on duty, Dorman said.

“My choice had been to staff a truck with three firefighters, and the trustees have directed me to staff it with two firefighters,” Dorman said.

Having only two men on duty at a satellite station is a safety hazard for firefighters, said Harry Wolfe, president of the International Association of Professional Firefighters Local 1176, which represents Boardman’s firefighters.

“It’s unsafe. Two men can’t fight a fire,” Wolfe said. “You wouldn’t run any business inefficiently. Running a two-man truck is inefficient.”

Nationally accepted standards dictate that at least four firefighters man each truck, Dorman said.

In the past, the department would use overtime to keep 10 firefighters on each shift. But the trustees ordered that overtime not be used to exceed the eight-firefighter minimum from now on, according to a memo dated Jan. 4 to Dorman from Jason Loree, township administrator.

Last year, the department budgeted for $180,000 in overtime, Dorman said, but by mid-December it had spent more than $260,000.

Dorman attributed the increased overtime spending to the department’s losing two firefighters, one who died of a heart attack and another who left for another job; and extended injury leave for two others.

The department also has three firefighters laid off, Dorman said.

One of those firefighters implored trustees at a meeting Monday night to bring back to work himself and two others.

“I would love to be back on board here,” said Mark Pitzer, a laid-off firefighter.

The township faces tough decisions as it spends the next several weeks finalizing its 2010 budget.

Monday night, William Leicht, the township’s fiscal officer, said that the township needs to control costs, including overtime expenditures.

“We can’t just arbitrarily spend overtime dollars,” he said.

Township trustees did not return calls seeking comment late Tuesday.



1theword(342 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

When there is a fire the other fire trucks from the other two stations will respond. Who said anything about only two fire fighters fighting a fire by themselves?

Two firemen a station is plenty, how many fires do these guys get a month? I'm sure not many..

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2boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Where is Asollo to comment? I have yet to read about trough feeders and cabals and the state taking over today.

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3Rokscout(310 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

You aren't the only one waiting for the inevitable comments. If this article is trying to stoke a fire (no pun intended), wait until township residents find out how many police they will have on the streets this year. Short answer is...very few.

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4Firefighter5(2 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

It doesn't matter how many fires they fight a month it just takes one to get someone killed, and two guys on a truck is not enough when you have to wait on another truck to make entry when you have a victim trapped, when seconds count.

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5jr99(102 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

10 or 11 firefighters on duty, but only 6 officers on the streets. Remember, folks, Boardman borders the 15th-most dangerous city in the United States (1 officer per cruiser, by the way). If you go to the mall, what's more likely to happen: your car catching on fire, or it being broken into or stolen? ; your wife having her purse go up in flames, or her being knocked to the ground in a robbery? If you hear a noise outside in the middle of the night, do you ask yourself "Is that a fire I hear breaking out?", or "Is someone trying to break into mine or my neighbor's home?" I commend the trustees for doing the right thing, which is what those two controlling c****s in the previous administration never did.
BFD gets about one good fire call per month, where they actually have to act like firemen. And if a house is going up in flames, they can't handle it by themselves. They need to call YFD. Why do they pad their stats (meaning they count each truck that goes on a call as 1 call)? Ex: 2 trucks go on a crash, that is counted as 2 calls. And let's talk about the overtime issue. If the fire chief is off, the asst. chief bumps up to chief's pay, the capt. bumps up to asst. chief's pay, and so on. BFD is the reason Boardman is having money issues, and the new administration is standing up to them.

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6AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Seconds will count whether they have to wait for a second truck or wait for one truck to travel further to get there. I would rather have 2 firefighters setting up to enter, then none and waiting.

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7redvert(2238 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

jr99, you make a number of statements about pay bumps etc. Now I do not know if what you say is true or not but I would think that a Vindy reporter should investigate your claims for the benefit of the people living in Boardman. They need to know what the facts are so they know if they are being ripped off.

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8apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

jr99 is correct regarding the pay bumps. All you need to do is look at my website and the salaries to see that is true. When the chief goes on vacation the assistant chief (becomes acting chief) gets paid the higher wage. That's funny, when my boss goes on vacation and one of us underlings becomes the acting boss, we don't get the boss's wage.

It isn't just the FD that has caused the township to be bankrupt. All employees benefited from the inheritance money used for contracts. That's why Boardman employees are making 20,000 more than peers per the audit findings.

What's more likely, your car catches fire in the mall parking lot or is stolen. The likelihood of either is remote but being stolen is probably slightly more likely. The fact is crime is low here even though we border the 15th most dangerous city in the US. No amount of police will change the current crime rates. Policing is 90% reactive.

We could get helicopters and make response time 1 minutes instead of 4 but we simply do not have the money. Cut wages and benefits to hire more police and fire. Get them in line with peers.

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9theword(342 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Boardman the 15 most dangerious city in america?

When is the last time Boardman had a violent crime other then the two Mooney kids shooting themselves.

I also like the Police and fire departments going at each other throats over who does less!!

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10candystriper(575 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Oil is heading to $84...$3 gas and higher...
There will be intense debt defaults by individuals,
banks, companies and governments.

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11Rosco(3 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

With two people there will be a delay on search and extinguishment of the fire, which means that more lives will be loss due to a delay time. You have to enter with a crew of two and one person outside to maintain a pump to ensure water for the firefighters inside. Thus a crew of two is not only putting the citizens of Boardman at risk it also puts the men and women who risk themselves to protect you at risk.
This is what happens when you don’t let the fire chief be the leader.
The standard around the country is 3-4 people on a fire truck. This is a NFPA standard, see the website if you have questions.
Thanks to the people who protect my family.

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12SkyKing310B(315 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

If Chief Dorman would like to join the union, he is free to resign and go back to working on a truck.

It is about time we see some leadership in that admin building and the residents interests placed first.

The Fire Chief serves at the pleasure of the Trustees, who serve at the pleasure of the voters. This time, the voters have won the round!

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