1. #1
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    Default An embarassment to the fire service!

    just saw this on the 6pm news. The pictures of this firehouse were absolutely disgusting. I could never imagine being in such a firehouse, much less allow my firehouse to get into such a condition. The fire chief states "we only have a 15K a year budget".......Cry me a river. Camden County has a lot of tax base to draw from, and no one ever said you couldnt solicit the townspeople for donations! And just how much money does it take to push a broom around, mop the floors, and pick up the trash? Whats with the toilets overturned in the bathroom?? And dont EVEN get me started about all the BEER CANS laying all over the place!!!!!! You guys are an embarassment to the fire service, and I hope the Mayor runs you all out of town!

    http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?se...cal&id=5952096


    By Cathy Gandolfo
    February 12, 2008 (WPVI) -- Sparks are flying between the volunteer fire company and the mayor in Chesilhurst, Camden County ... especially after the mayor put a lock on the door of the firehouse.

    Mayor Michael Blunt of Chesilhurst was so disgusted with the deplorable conditions of the Chesilhurst fire house - broken toilets, holes in the walls, beer cans and cigarette butts litter the building. Volunteer firefighters have been barred from the building since Friday, which the mayor says turn into a flop house.

    "I think it's a known fact throughout the community that people are living here. Now that we're here they're going to run out," said Mayor Blunt.
    The mayor says often times calls are not answered. Instead fires in this town of 18-hundred are handled by companies in nearby Winslow or Waterford Townships. A vacant house undergoing renovations burned Monday night and is considered suspicious. Mayor blunt wonders if it had anything to do with the local fire house controversy.

    Robert Barney is the chief of the now suspended fire department operations. "Last year we had a $15,000 operating expense budget. You can't run your house on $15,000 let alone a fire house."

    Former Councilman Bob McCann said today, "The residents don't know that there's not a fire department here. What that does is causes home ownerships and insurances tog o up, and people are not protected."
    "Saving lives should be the number one concern," said Chesilhurst resident Brenda Hyson.

    The mayor says residents are protected but he wants the fire company reorganized and this mess dealt with. He says he wants to reopen the fire house in six months.

    The mayor wants to clean up the fire house and get a new crop of volunteer to staff it. The current group of volunteers says they're going to court because they've been locked out of their own building.
    (Copyright ©2008 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I don't know anything about this, but I would wonder if there is more to the story.

    If it is as presented in this news story then the mayor did the right thing...

    However, this is NJ, so beware the politician who *appears* to be doing the right thing.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Default Branding the fire service

    I just read "Fire Department Brand Equity: You are us."

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...nId=9&id=52324

    "...each of our 36,000 departments and our 1.6 million firefighters represent the perception of the brand fire department throughout the country. We rise and fall on the promises and actions of each of us. In that context we are all individual leaders in our efforts to protect our citizens."

    You are right to be upset, the group has painted all of us in bad light.

    C6

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    I am not sure if we saw the same video....Okay we did......So there was some trash and a bathroom in need of a remodel. It didn't look that bad. You obviously work out of one of You probably have leather chairs and a flat screen with an industrial type kitchen.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554 View Post
    I am not sure if we saw the same video....Okay we did......So there was some trash and a bathroom in need of a remodel. It didn't look that bad. You obviously work out of one of You probably have leather chairs and a flat screen with an industrial type kitchen.......
    Um, no, I dont think we both saw the same video, either that or your definition of "some trash" and "bathroom in need of a remodel" is way out of line with the rest of us.

    There was a little more than "some trash" on the floor. There was a little more than "a few" cigarette butts on the floor. There were quite a few beer cans everywhere. And even if I did work in a Taj Mahal, whats the difference? Where is their company pride? Do they even own a broom or trash cans? Do they know their toilets are broken off the floor flanges and sitting on their sides? Where do they go to the potty, or do they just do THAT on the floor, same as tossing their garbage on the floor?

    And once again....Whats with the BEER in the firehouse?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Post Well.........

    Let's go thru a logical progression:
    1. Who Owns the Firehouse?
    2. Who Owns the Apparatus?
    3. Who came up with a system that allowed a Mayor to do something that stupid?

    Let's find the answers to these before moving on.............
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    And once again....Whats with the BEER in the firehouse?
    Yeah, how about it. Busch?!?!@? They are obviously volunteers - career guys would have gotten at least PBR! I am as offended as you are!



    I don't care what any of you guys do. It most certainly won't effect how people think about us here in Chicago - just don't buy the cheap beer
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    Yeah, how about it. Busch?!?!@? They are obviously volunteers - career guys would have gotten at least PBR! I am as offended as you are!



    I don't care what any of you guys do. It most certainly won't effect how people think about us here in Chicago - just don't buy the cheap beer
    Hahaha. Maybe some Sam Adams, Guiness, Bass maybe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BKDRAFT View Post
    Hahaha. Maybe some Sam Adams, Guiness, Bass maybe.
    Only in the well paid uppity suburbs though!
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Everything you wanted to know about this community, but were afraid to ask....

    http://www.city-data.com/city/Chesil...ew-Jersey.html
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Um, no, I dont think we both saw the same video, either that or your definition of "some trash" and "bathroom in need of a remodel" is way out of line with the rest of us.

    There was a little more than "some trash" on the floor. There was a little more than "a few" cigarette butts on the floor. There were quite a few beer cans everywhere. And even if I did work in a Taj Mahal, whats the difference? Where is their company pride? Do they even own a broom or trash cans? Do they know their toilets are broken off the floor flanges and sitting on their sides? Where do they go to the potty, or do they just do THAT on the floor, same as tossing their garbage on the floor?

    And once again....Whats with the BEER in the firehouse?
    I just want to caution you... You dont' know WHO put that stuff there. What better way to discredit a fire department. Perhaps the mayor who called in the press to see this stuff is not on the up and up?

    Look, like I said, I don't know them, the town, or most of NJ south of the Raritan River!

    Hopefully, someone from down that way could chime in.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Why does this have to be in New Jersey? It just makes the rest of us look bad.

    And on a side note, I'm a member of a volunteer fire company and we don't drink Busch at all.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

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    Default where were the officers?!?!?

    I am sure that Pride and Ownership got thrown out the window, but I know with my Vol. Dept. it was stated that from day one that if you are here (when we were on a call) you were cleaning, sweeping, washing trucks, checking gear. Hell if an officer caught you sitting around while our brothers were out working you would definitely get a talkin' to. I don't know about if this story make us (Vol. Fire Dept.) look bad, I do believe it shows that we need to take pride and ownership in all that we do.

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    Gee...where's George Wendt CFI??????


    (One more reason California is the most screwed up place on earth)
    Last edited by AZFF25; 02-12-2008 at 10:30 PM.
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    I only got to see about half of the video. My Internet connection is slow tonight…

    Anyway, that station was pretty nasty. The thing I am curious about is how the chief did not deny that those problems existed, he tried to blame it on the budget, so he must have known about the problems.

    There is no excuse of a station like that. The appearance of the firehouse and apparatus is a reflection of that departments pride and devotion to the fire service. Our department has a low budget, but our station is nowhere near the conditions as this station was. We have members who actually spend their personal money to buy things for the station if the budget cannot fit what we need. Now we are not a broke department, we just do not have the money to buy fancy stuff. But we had a problem with cigarette butts, so we moved the smoking area behind the station and installed a cigarette receptacle. We also had a trash problem, but now we have made rules about trash, so now we have a clean station. There are weekends that we all go to the station to just clean everything. And drinking is prohibited in all county fire stations. If you even show up on scene after drinking you get suspended.

    We had a kitchen that we had to rip out because of some damage that the station received in a storm. The station went without a kitchen for several months but the budget had to be spent on either new turnouts or a kitchen, so obviously we went with turnouts. So in a meeting on of the guys who is also a carpenter got a local hardware and home improvement store to donate us a new kitchen and we installed it.

    I just do not understand how this could happen. I have been to departments that get less than that and have nice stations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinFFVFD View Post
    I only got to see about half of the video. My Internet connection is slow tonight…

    Anyway, that station was pretty nasty. The thing I am curious about is how the chief did not deny that those problems existed, he tried to blame it on the budget, so he must have known about the problems.

    There is no excuse of a station like that. The appearance of the firehouse and apparatus is a reflection of that departments pride and devotion to the fire service. Our department has a low budget, but our station is nowhere near the conditions as this station was. We have members who actually spend their personal money to buy things for the station if the budget cannot fit what we need. Now we are not a broke department, we just do not have the money to buy fancy stuff. But we had a problem with cigarette butts, so we moved the smoking area behind the station and installed a cigarette receptacle. We also had a trash problem, but now we have made rules about trash, so now we have a clean station. There are weekends that we all go to the station to just clean everything. And drinking is prohibited in all county fire stations. If you even show up on scene after drinking you get suspended.

    We had a kitchen that we had to rip out because of some damage that the station received in a storm. The station went without a kitchen for several months but the budget had to be spent on either new turnouts or a kitchen, so obviously we went with turnouts. So in a meeting on of the guys who is also a carpenter got a local hardware and home improvement store to donate us a new kitchen and we installed it.

    I just do not understand how this could happen. I have been to departments that get less than that and have nice stations.
    My fire company is a prime example. We are definitely a low-budget department and I definitely know our station looks a hell of a lot better than that one. Yes, we do have a bar and we do serve beer, but we also have strict rules and guidelines with that. For example, the bar is to be opened only AFTER drills, meetings, cleanups, and everything else fire-related is done. And even then, only a select few people on our 'back room committee' have keys to the bar's fridge. The thing we serve most, though, is coffee. Some company donated an automatic coffee maker (the ones they have in WaWa's [PA + NJ 7-11 like convenience store] and in 7-11's) and we make that for our calls, meetings, and drills.

    Our first due engine is outdated when it comes to the NFPA standards that say all apparatus now have to have a closed crew cab. Ours does not. We are spec'ing a new engine, though, in 2009, but that will be a while before we actually get one. We have two brush trucks with one being an old military deuce and a half from the Army in the 1950's that has a lot of engine troubles now and the other is a late 1980's brush truck that's decent, but nothing spectacular. We tried for a new brush truck this year, but were denied by the town. It also doesn't help that we have 2 other companies each with 2 stations that receive more funding then we do.

    Most of our day-to-day funds come from donations, coin tosses, and so for training, new equipment, and such. I think out budget is pretty close to the $15,000 one that Camden fire department has. I think ours is actually only $20,000 and we still manage to keep a better station than that. We have people that care at ours - mostly younger members, though.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

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    I'm sorry, but I just cannot see how a fire department can install a bar in their fire station. I just cannot see how a department can allow their members to drink at the station and run the risk of a fire coming in at that moment. Do they expect that member or members to respond? Plus how many MVC's do we go to with people drinking then driving home.

    Now I am not an angel when it comes to drinking, I have had nights I cannot remember the next day, but I didn't do it at the station and I sure as hell didn't drive. I just feel that it puts a bad image on the department to allow alcohol in the station.

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    Wow. So you've got a bar, but not NFPA compliant apparatus.

    Way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emt161 View Post
    Wow. So you've got a bar, but not NFPA compliant apparatus. Way to go.
    I don't think one has to do with the other. Personally, I can't support the idea of a firehouse bar, but I don't get that issue mixed up with apparatus specs. I'm sure their rig met NFPA regulations when it was manufactured... which is all it has to do.

    It's real easy for threads like these to become a place where we step up on our stump and proclaim how much our department is better than your department. We have the cleanest firehouse in the township! Our underwear meet NFPA guidelines! I'm guilty of it myself from time to time.

    I doubt the poster you were replying to has much say in the operation of his firehouse bar. I imagine there's "always been one," so its existence is easy to accept. Many of the firefighters I know don't visit message boards or read magazines or venture far outside the bubble that is their own department. I would imagine such is the case with this guy's station... There hasn't be the appropriate outside influence applied to let them know a firehouse bar is a usually bad idea. Calling him out on an Internet message board probably won't get the job done, either.
    Last edited by cozmosis; 02-13-2008 at 12:58 AM.

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    Not knowing the other side of this story, and assuming this is a legitimate issue within that firehouse...let's start with the Chief.

    Like it or not, the Chief is accountable for this mess. He allowed it to happen. No accountability whatsoever. So the budget is tight. At a minimum pick up the broken fixtures and trash and run a broom through the house. Build a strong case with the mayor showing that the department needs more money. Empower the troops to have some pride and clean up after themselves. The Chief did not take the opportunity with the media to build a case for himself or the department. He did not deny the actions of his troops, he did not appear to be upset and ashamed about the conditions of his firehouse, and he took no responsibility of this issue.

    As for the firefighters...they should be ashamed. I do not care if you are volunteer or career. It is about taking pride in your work and your service to the community. If the conditions displayed in the video are truely the conditions of that firehouse, then it is time for new personnel take over.

    Lastly, if the conditions of that firehouse reflect the culture of the department, I would be very curious to see their training records. What about their standard operating guidelines? I believe that if this is the true state of this fire department, the dirty firehouse is only the scratching the surface of a much deeper problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty42 View Post
    Not knowing the other side of this story, and assuming this is a legitimate issue within that firehouse...let's start with the Chief.

    The Chief did not take the opportunity with the media to build a case for himself or the department. He did not deny the actions of his troops, he did not appear to be upset and ashamed about the conditions of his firehouse, and he took no responsibility of this issue.

    Let's start out by saying that "the media" is totally fallible. The Chiefs denial may be on the cutting room floor.

    I can't count the times that "the media" were at the scene of one of our fires and "the media" miss-quoted us as well as cutting important parts of the interview out of the broadcast.

    All I know is that this situation should have been handled differently. Hopefully, everything was tried BEFORE going to "the media". FWDbuff....please keep us posted of any more information on this.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

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    I do not disagree about the media "editing". I have had this happen many times. However, the walkthrough of the firehouse spoke volumes. The Chief should have at least stated that there is going to be an investigation. But he instead took the opportunity to use the budget as a means to defend thier actions.

    The one thing that does strike me is that the personnel are locked out of the station. They are locked out for a reason. With that said, it is possible that the conditions of the firehouse existed only after the existing members were ordered to leave and a "last minute pack up and move" party took place with items which did not belong to the city. So in the process, a few things were "damaged". If this is the case, then my previous statement still holds true. No accountability and no pride to the community.

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    the bar in the firehouse thing always gets me. Here in the bible belt if the word bar and firehouse are used in the same sentence people would try to shut your station down.

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    I have a very difficult time attempting to understand the "bar" in the station concept. I have heard many departments attempt to defend their presence of alcohol as a way to retain or provide some social time with members. I think it is time to apply the NIMS & Federal Funding concept to departments that have alcohol in the stations. If it is present...no state or federal funding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    I don't think one has to do with the other. Personally, I can't support the idea of a firehouse bar, but I don't get that issue mixed up with apparatus specs. I'm sure their rig met NFPA regulations when it was manufactured... which is all it has to do.

    It's real easy for threads like these to become a place where we step up on our stump and proclaim how much our department is better than your department. We have the cleanest firehouse in the township! Our underwear meet NFPA guidelines! I'm guilty of it myself from time to time.

    I doubt the poster you were replying to has much say in the operation of his firehouse bar. I imagine there's "always been one," so its existence is easy to accept. Many of the firefighters I know don't visit message boards or read magazines or venture far outside the bubble that is their own department. I would imagine such is the case with this guy's station... There hasn't be the appropriate outside influence applied to let them know a firehouse bar is a usually bad idea. Calling him out on an Internet message board probably won't get the job done, either.
    Yeah, you are correct on all accounts. The engine we have was NFPA compliant when it was manufactured, but according to the new NFPA guidelines it's no longer compliant. It's still allowed to be in service and operate, but it's just not NFPA compliant anymore. We should be able to fix that problem in the next few years, though, so I'm definitely looking forward to that being a new firefighter and such.

    I'm not saying I do or do not support the bar and alcohol in the firehouse because I'm only 18 and not of legal age to drink, but we have members that drink a few beers here and there on some nights (mainly our company business meeting nights) and they are usually fine to drive home. I'm not saying it's right or even that I condone that kind of behavior, but they do it and we have multiple police personnel in our fire company so I would hope and expect them to know when they can or cannot operate a vehicle anymore.

    But, the bar is only there because when the firehouse was built back in 1978 (fairly new firehouse), the bar was built along with it in our back room. Our 'Bar Committee' makes a good amount of money with selling beer and it helps our day-to-day operations.

    I'm not saying my fire company is any better or any worse than any other company or department. To me, we are all equal as brothers (and sisters) in the fire service. That is what I take pride in and I call it a firehouse instead of a fire 'station' most of the time because of the family representation in 'house.' That was told to me by our county's Deputy Fire Marshal and my Firefighter Level 1 Instructor. It definitely makes sense to me and I've been calling it a firehouse most of the time ever since.

    And yes, I really have no say in the operation(s) of my firehouse bar because it was there way before I was even born and it helps with our daily funds when needed. We need equipment or training, that helps pay for it all. Most of my fellow firefighters don't go on computers much let alone visit these online message boards and such so they really don't know everyone else's situations and views on different topics. I honestly couldn't care less about whether or not a bar was in our firehouse. The only thing I use regarding it is our coffee machine. Besides that I have no other use(s) for it.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

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