Watertown City Council to vote on putting heavy rescue truck up for auction

Watertown City Council to vote on putting heavy rescue truck up for auction
Watertown Fire Department rescue truck (Source: WWNY)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Watertown Fire Department’s heavy rescue truck could be headed for the auction block.

City council members will vote on putting the vehicle, along with other surplus equipment, up for auction at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Lawmakers sidelined the vehicle in a vote of 4 to 1. Mayor Jeff Smith has said firefighters don’t need to respond to all EMS calls in the city.

City council members will also consider a resolution Tuesday to request Jefferson County provide Emergency Medical Dispatch to the fire department. EMD would be a way for firefighters to get information on the severity of an emergency call before responding to it.

Jefferson County Legislature Chairman Scott Gray has said providing EMD to the city fire department would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tuesday’s resolution indicates “EMS shall cease operation, unless EMD has been implemented for the City” by January 1, 2022.

As for the grounded heavy rescue truck, Smith tells 7 News it’s a better idea to put it up for auction and get the most money for it, instead of letting it sit at the fire station and depreciate in value.

Firefighter union president Dan Daugherty called the proposal shortsighted Friday night and said firefighters will lose the ability to use some hydraulic tools that were powered by the truck, including hydraulic jaws of life equipment. That said, the fire department also has battery powered jaws of life equipment which it uses.

Daugherty also said he thinks auctioning off the rescue truck would be a rushed decision because it’s unclear how EMS service in the fire department may change in the future.

Along with the heavy rescue truck, lawmakers will vote to send other DPW equipment to an auction service, including a snow blade, a pickup truck storage box, and other items.

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