Watertown Fire Department Expected To Blow OT Budget

Watertown Fire Department Expected To Blow OT Budget

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Thursday afternoon, firefighters responded to a double house fire on South Indiana Avenue in Watertown. 

48 hours later, city firefighters responded to another house fire on LeRay Street. 

Both fires required extra manpower to fight the blazes.

"There was 15 people working. They arrived on scene, made a determination that more resources were needed. A recall of two of the platoons, B platoon and D platoon was made," said Watertown Fire Chief Dale Herman.

That's about 45 firefighters who responded; 15 is what's required for a shift. 

Herman estimates that the cost in overtime for the South Indiana Avenue fire was close to $13,000. 

The fire on LeRay Street racked up about $4,000 in overtime. 

The fire department has used over $430,000 in overtime for the fiscal year which ends in June.

It only has about $468,000 budgeted for the year. 

Chief Herman says there's a good chance they'll go over budget.

"One of my members has been diagnosed with illness that is gonna have him out minimally for 8 weeks," he said.

And the amount hours firefighters are working is taking a toll on them.

"People are getting a little bit burned out by having to be there so often. Nobody wants to live at the fire station," said Dan Daugherty, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 191.

The overtime costs come at a time when the city and firefighters union are disputing minimum staffing and how many captains the department should have. 

We reached out to City Manager Sharon Addison to see how she felt about the fire department's overtime. 

She said, "We'll continue to pay overtime as it comes in." 

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