Aerial Passes Inspection in New York

Oneonta’s aerial ladder truck, No. 1641, has passed inspection, the fire chief said Wednesday.

Chief Patrick Pidgeon said American Testing inspected the truck for re-certification Tuesday and it “passed with flying colors, as expected.”

Pidgeon said he has notified the firefighters union, which had filed a grievance over the truck remaining in service.

Pidgeon said other parties notified about the inspection Tuesday and status of the vehicle included the city manager, the mayor and the state Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau.

Earlier this month, Oneonta Professional Firefighters, International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 2408, filed a complaint with the PESH, a unit of the state Department of Labor.

Andrew Turner, president of the local union, said the PESH report is expected in several days. The paramount concern was safety of firefighters and the decision by leadership should have been to err on the side of caution and take the truck out of service until it was inspected, he said.

“Luckily, we didn’t have to use it,” Turner said Wednesday. “We’re happy that it passed and that there were no issues.”

On May 6, Turner had asked the Common Council to take No. 1641 out of service based on safety concerns. However, the truck remained in service because the chief considered it safe.

No. 1641 was re-certified for one year in July, and Pidgeon set an earlier re-inspection date to meet union concerns.

Also at issue was the status of truck No. 1611, taken out of service this month for repairs. The truck, which has a hydraulic leak and other problems, is in Syracuse for repairs, and a timetable for its return was available, the chief said.

No. 1641 is a 1987 95-foot ladder truck without pump capabilities, and No. 1611 is a 1992 engine with a 65-foot elevated water way. The Common Council has discussed replacing No. 1641.

Pidgeon said his chief’s vehicle also has been out of service for about six weeks because an engine installed about a year ago “was a lemon.” 

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©2014 The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.)

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