Troy firefighters request second set of turnout gear

May 16, 2019 11:32 PM

TROY -- A special Troy City Council finance committee meeting was held Thursday night to discuss funding for a second set of turnout gear for Troy firefighters.

It comes on the heels of two back to back major fires in the City of Troy. While the city continues to grow, the amount of resources to the fire department does not. Eric Wisher, the President of the Troy Professional Firefighters Local 86 said the number of calls to the department has increased by 40 percent in the last four years.

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Wisher said a second set of gear is something departments are beginning to do all across the county. He said with last week’s fires, firefighters weren’t able to decontaminate their gear after fighting the fire at Alpha Lanes before heading to a warehouse fire on Pawling Avenue. That meant cancer causing chemicals could’ve remained on their gear.

“Our guys are wearing this stuff dirty,” said Wisher “We have a firehouse without showers. They sent guys down to headquarters to take a shower then put them back in dirty gear to go back to a fire it's just unacceptable.”

Firefighters showed members of the council how the gear works. One firefighter’s gear being held together by duct tape. Currently 12 sets of gear are on a repair list. Council President Carmella Mantello, who called the meeting, said she wants to find the funding for this.

“If we can spend $200,000 on zoning we can certainly spend $300,000 for a second set of turnout gear to protect our firefighters,” said Mantello.

Troy Fire Chief Eric McMahon said while a second set of turnout gear would be great, they may need to look at the bigger picture with what to do with their limited resources. He said they’ve worked to create a contamination reduction policy so more firefighters are cleaning their gear more often.

“As the chief of the department we need to prioritize the very limited funds that we have,” said McMahon. “We have station issues with heat, we have some stations that have roof leaks.”

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said he has had many discussions with the chief and they are looking at the issues with the department as a whole.  

“We’re also looking at things like training, other equipment, the firehouses staffing levels,” said Madden. “Things of that nature. It’s not just about turnout gear and whether we should come up with turnout gear today.”

Nothing was voted on Thursday night and no decision were made. However, the council said they would continue the discussion.


Emily De Vito

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