Belle Glade turns down firetruck

By Rochelle Brenner, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

BELLE GLADE -- Fire officials say that without a new fire-rescue truck, the department will not be able to provide firefighting services to the unincorporated area outside the city.

Fire Chief Stephen Rice told the commission Monday his department will not be able to fulfill a $280,000 contract with the county to provide fire services after commissioners voted 3-2 to reject buying the vehicle.

Rice said the department responds to 400 to 450 calls outside the city each year.

"I need three people at an emergency scene. Without that (vehicle),... we can't respond," Rice said. "I never had anybody hurt as the chief and I don't plan on doing it now."

Mayor Steve Wilson and commissioners Mary Kendall and Gwen Asia-Williams voted against buying the truck. Wilson scheduled a workshop to discuss the city's critical vehicle needs and this vehicle may come back up.

Commissioners Sherrie Dulany and Donald Garrett voted to buy the vehicle, which already had been budgeted. Commissioners voted unanimously to buy new computer equipment for the fire department