Are Old Fire Department Trucks, Equipment Putting Shreveport Citizens at Risk?
SPD Chief Scott Wolverton talks about the department's recent station shutdowns due to equipment problems and shortages.
The Chief says the aging fleet of his department is breaking down and this is causing problems across the city. Wolverton previously told a city council committee a fire engine at Station 1 broke down. Aa s result, an engine from Station 2 had to be moved over to provide the best cover for the city. As a result, Station 2 was shut down on Saturday. He also told the Audit and Finance Committee that the situation was temporary, however, "Station 2 (was shut down) because we have no engine to put in that station."
Wolverton also told the committee that Station 12 at Bert Kouns and Woolworth Road had reopened after five day shutdown. He reiterated that equipment failure is becoming an ever increasing problem at stations across the city and he doesn't have enough trucks to properly staff all of the stations in the city.
As of Friday, repairs had been made and all Shreveport Fire Stations were open and operational.
"As everyone knows, we've been trying to get new (engines) for years now," Wolverton says, adding that he expects the city's problems will continue, "The 2019 bond proposal would have provided about 20 new engines for us, but that bond proposal failed. That was the voters decision and we have to live with that. (But) our engines are to the point where they're past their service life."
The Chief says he looks forward to the possibility of another bond proposal from the Mayor's office, and in the meantime, hoping that part of the nearly $50 million in COVID relief money from Washington can go to his department. "Those discussions are happening now, "he says, "I think once things are said and done and it's time to appropriate some of those funds, some will be appropriated to meet the critical needs of the Fire Department."
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