1. #1
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    Angry Waterbury, CT Firehouses Not Up to Code

    New video available at http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=2181410


    A call to fix deteriorating firehouses in Waterbury

    (Waterbury-WTNH, Aug. 16, 2004 6:15 PM) _ Firehouses in Waterbury are coming under fire tonight.

    There are code violations and city officials are being called on to clean up the deplorable conditions.

    by News Channel 8's Erin Cox



    Waterbury has about one dozen neighborhood firehouses and some of them are nearly 100 years old. Today, News Channel 8 got to go inside to see the conditions and at least one house that we saw is definitely not up to code.

    The fire captain has a corner office, but no window.

    "That's it. A piece of cardboard and a couple of MDA signs. The window fell out six months ago," says Captain Ken Tamborra.

    That's not the worst. He took us on a tour of the firehouse called the Dungeon.

    "The urinals and the toilets are up there and certain times when guys would flush it would drip onto the floor here."

    The floor also has holes and an uneven steel plates and on the ceiling, plenty of peeling tape.

    "It falls right off the ceiling. I mean you could see the pieces hanging, ready to fall off."

    Turns out none of Waterbury's firehouses are up to code. There are no second exits.

    "If something happens in this hallway or the bottom of the stairs to the apparatus or piece of machinery, there is no other way out."
    "From your perspective as a firefighter, is that safe?" asks Erin Cox.

    "It's not safe at all."

    Firefighters spend some fifty hours a week in the house so they have installed their own AC's and smoke detectors.

    "The guys bought those and put those in. There is no fire alarm system here."

    "It's a disgrace," says Mayor Mike Jarjura.

    But the mayor says there's not enough money to fix up all the firehouses.

    "We can only do what we can with the resources we have available," says Jarjura.

    The firefighters tell me when they are not on a call, they would love the chance to do some repairs themselves but they can't because it would cause problems with other city unions.

    "I know they don't have money and none of the guys want a brand new house, just better upkeep of what we have."
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    They aren't the only ones...

    I currently run out of a house that is aging rapidly, and we're going to start pushing 100 years over it's limit too far, very soon.

    Our station was originally three floors tall, it's down to two, and the second floor is becoming a hazard. The old plaster ceiling is dropping at random times, the floors are spongy, and the electrical systems are anything but up to code.

    Our apparatus floor is a very nasty area. The Cadets and Call force gear is between two columns of apparatus. Always getting sprayed with ambulance exhaust at minimum. The career guys' gear is beside our tower, if that rolls, all their gear gets hit hard too. Our floors drop when we bring the trucks home, the exhaust has very little room to venthilate. We have a very minimal system for that.

    The solution? A new station that we're not going to see for another 1.5+ years. The bond vote was 3+ years ago, and we're going to be over budget because of delays. We were ready to build, then everything got stopped by a member of the public who owns property adjacent to it did some form of appeal to the city because he would lose illegal parking. Go figure. It got taken to court, and now we have to accomodate him.

    We definately need to get ALL firehouses like the ones in Connecticut, the ones in Vermont, the ones in ANY state, ANY place in our country, taken care of.

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    Default Re: Waterbury, CT Firehouses Not Up to Code

    Originally posted by Adze39
    The firefighters tell me when they are not on a call, they would love the chance to do some repairs themselves but they can't because it would cause problems with other city unions.
    gotta love this line. maybe their union should speak to the union who handles the repairs. a big "have your people call my people" scenario. after all, they are all union brothers

    my stances on this statement is as follows. it is much easier to beg for forgiveness than it is to ask permission. just do the damn work. let their union complain. if they do, tell them to do the rest. a job needs to get done, and due to union problems, it isn't getting done. I'd say damn the politics, I'm going to get the job done and get yelled at afterwards, but at least it will be done!!!
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    This is an ongoing problem that I have seen over the years,in a lot of departments. I have seen chiefs ignore bringing the building up to code in order not to spend money, and justification for a new station when the old station is simple beyond repair.
    To many of us the fire station is a second home, and to live in one that is litterly falling apart is not fun.Posible question for a poll
    Is your Fire station up to code? Is it up to livable Standards?
    Would the fire chiefs and the powers to be believe the results?

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    I can see your point DrParasite, about Union politics, and where FF's can't cross over trades to get even the simplest station repairs done.

    However, coming from the 2nd worse department in Connecticut - I can tell you that when you do decide to take it upon yourself to get something done, it does infact cause problems between the unions.

    The other problems it causes -

    First - If you get caught - does the city have the $ for the rest of the work/repair? Will it get done? Probably not - come and look at my watch desk area.

    Secondly - if you do take the initiative to fix something, and perhaps, pay for it yourself - you've just set a precedent, and the City may throw that back at you if you make noise - Hey, you guys already fixed this, why don't you go and fix that - the city has no money.

    Oh yeah, and as far as threatening them with OSHA and any other local/state/federal agency - they'll tell ya to bring it on. They'll take the fine, appeal it, then claim they have no ability to pay, and the fine will get knocked down or dropped.

    Ugh. Ain't it great?

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    Their is a point where you just have to take care of it yourself.
    I'll tell you the most likely scenario. If the city is pushed they will build the cheapest, basic new houses and that is what you will have to live in.
    The house in the video clip is a real piece of history and the guys should do whatever is needed to keep it up. If that means doing it yourself so be it.
    Here is another angle to the "you've just set a precedent" the city can say you don't take care of it so why should we care.
    Their are a lot of options, By me we had the entire house painted by "sentenced offenders" from the county. We just purchased the paint and rollers.
    Try making a list of everything and every month send it up to the city. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
    We are a resourceful bunch, I'm sure we could come up with something.

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