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Commission Discusses Purchase of ‘Well Needed’ Rescue Vehicle

April 11, 2018
BY CHAD TURNER - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

Jim Glasscock, Jr. of the Folsom Volunteer Fire Department met with the Wetzel County Commission April 3 to discuss the possible purchase of a new fire and rescue vehicle. The proposed rescue vehicle is a top-of-the-line model Glasscock feels, "Is well needed in the county." Glasscock provided examples of incidents in which large trucks had rolled over, and drivers were trapped inside the vehicles for four to five hours because there was not a rescue vehicle capable of lifting the overturned trucks. The last incident was in early January, and the fire crew had to wait for a vehicle from Fairmont to lift the overturned water truck. It was approximated there were around four to six incidents in the last year-and-one-half in which a vehicle of this magnitude was needed.

Glasscock also mentioned he has several volunteers willing to take the training to handle the new vehicle, and he would like to get every firefighter in the county trained on the vehicle, so they are prepared when arriving on scene. He stated he has spoken with some other members of fire departments who are in favor of the purchase of the truck. The estimated cost of the vehicle is $728,480 which Glasscock stated, "You won't find a better truck on the market as far as safety and handling for the firefighters." Glasscock said the truck comes equipped with a top-of-the-line safety cab and independent front suspension. Glasscock mentioned if the commission wanted to save money, it could go with a cheaper cab and cheaper suspension. The truck also comes with a cascade system which can refill oxygen tanks on scene, a compressor system, a 19-foot light tower and an internal command post.

Glasscock also proposed a list of equipment the truck could come with, in the amount of $206,519. This would put the total cost of the vehicle at approximately $935,000. It was mentioned the truck would be available for use for all of Wetzel County and also outside of the county, if needed. Jim Glasscock, Sr. stated, "There is nobody in this county that has this kind of equipment to dismantle a truck or lift a truck, so it is something we really need for this county." He continued, "It is really bad when you're out there for hours, and everyone is standing around taking pictures, and the family is there. We try to hang up tarps to keep people out, but they criticize you about what you are doing. You can only do so much with the equipment you have to work with."

Commissioner Lisa Heasley inquired as to whether Glasscock has reached out to any industries to ask for donations since the truck could be used to help out with those wrecked vehicles. Glasscock replied he had not yet reached out to them. He first wanted to meet with the commissioners to see what direction to go. He mentioned insurance companies could be billed to get funding in return.

It was suggested Glasscock reach out to industries to see how much could be acquired in donations before moving forward. Also, it was suggested to look into taking out a loan as a way of getting some funds to lower the overall price the county would have to dispense. Lastly, the Folsom VFD would have to have a place ready to store the vehicle, which they have located. However, the VFD is waiting on dry weather before laying blocks.

Jimmy Glasscock, Sr. also invited the commissioners to a bus extrication class being held on June 9 and 10. The VFD will demonstrate how it deals with wrecked vehicles containing passengers trapped in the vehicle. The BOE has donated a bus to Folsom for this learning experience, and some of the students will even get to participate. The event will be held at Shortline School with several fire departments throughout the county involved. The commissioners agreed to pay for the cost of towing the bus to Shortline for the exercise, if needed.

In other news, the commissioners agreed to re-appoint Cora Wood to the Board of Directors of the Second Judicial Circuit Public Defender Corporation.

There had previously been a request submitted to the commissioners from the Wetzel County Emergency Ambulance Authority for funding due to low reimbursements, for ambulance runs, from insurance companies. The commission is still researching the matter, but due to the dire need of funding, the commission passed a motion to donate $75,000 in assistance to the Wetzel County Ambulance Authority. Commissioners Larry Lemon and Bob Gorby recused themselves from the vote due to their affiliation with the Ambulance Authority.

A motion passed to accept a bid submitted by Quality Aluminum to replace the front doors of the War Memorial Building. Quality Aluminum will install an overhead transit, steel double doors, and panic hardware for the amount of $9,972.

The commission also passed a motion on a budget revision in the amount of $111,480. The funds will be used for the renovation of the Senior Center in Hundred, as well as upgrading the OES siren system.

Per WV Ethics and Open Meetings Act, agenda items for Wetzel County Commission meetings will be posted within two business days prior to meetings. Request for items requiring action should be submitted within that time frame.

The next scheduled Wetzel County Commission meeting is scheduled for April 17 beginning at 9:30 a.m. and located at the commission office on Main Street, New Martinsville.



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