Tuesday: Newton Falls Fire Volunteers Locked Out

Tools

For the last week, most of the volunteer firefighters in Newton Falls have been locked out of the fire department and unable to respond to emergencies.

18 out of 23 volunteers don't have the required state training, according to a March 18 letter from the Newton Falls fire district commissioners. As a result, they're on "restricted duty" and are " no longer able to respond to calls or use any fire district equipment until training requirements have been met."

The Newton Falls fire department uses a 'key fob' system to gain entrance to the department building. The system was changed so that the fobs of the 18 volunteers without the training no longer work.

"I can't respond to nothing," said Robert Provost, a 58 year veteran of the department who is locked out. "I can't even pump cellars out."

The state requires a minimum of 27 hours training for "basic scene support" and 91 hours for firefighters who go into buildings, according to fire officials.

Fire Commissioner Gary Edik told 7 News reporter John Friot that repeated attempts to get the volunteers to agree to meet the mandated training have failed. Edik said the fire department could be liable, should a firefighter without the required training be injured or killed while battling a blaze.

"If they get hurt, the state insurance does not have to pay for it," Edik said. "That's what we're trying to eliminate."

The Newton Falls fire department uses a 'key fob' system to gain entrance to the department building. The system was changed so that the fobs of the 18 volunteers without the training no longer work.

It was not clear Tuesday how the matter can be resolved. For the time being, five volunteers who do meet state standards will respond to calls, and volunteers from neighboring Star Lake are being automatically summoned if there is a call in Newton Falls.

In addition, volunteers from Fine and Cranberry Lake are helping to provide fire protection.

"Right now, everything's up in the air," said Provost. "We don't know what we're going to be doing for sure."

 

 

 

Friday, August 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

On Demand

This content requires the latest Adobe Flash Player and a browser with JavaScript enabled. Click here for a free download of the latest Adobe Flash Player.

On Wall Street

What's On TonightFull Schedule