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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Drunk Cuyahoga revelers, carry on with your jet-ski collisions. Cleveland’s fireboat is back

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2008 at 6:26 AM

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The West Bank of the Flats already has a reputation for under-policed mayhem. So closing the local fire station—essentially treating the neighborhood like an Afghani mountainside—might not be the best idea. Especially given that the West Bank’s riverfront firehouse, Station #21, houses the only firefighters trained to use Cleveland’s fireboat, the venerable Anthony J. Celebrezze, and given our river’s tendency to catch fire and whatnot But this is Cleveland. ... We specialize in bad ideas. So, to save money on the CFD budget, Station 21 is being “idled”—whenever the number of citywide firefighters on duty dips below 187, the station’s workers are dispersed to other firehouses around the city. As a result, Station 21 has been closed more than 100 days this year. But at a community meeting on Tuesday, fire chief Paul Stubbs announced that the West Bank firehouse will be opened without interruption until Labor Day. The summer is recreational boating season, and here in Cleveland, where we don’t let our operating of large, fast boats interrupt our drinking, access to the fireboat is a necessity. As for after Labor Day, Stubbs made no inferences either way. “I think it will depend on what kind of summer they have,” says union secretary Mike Norman, so it depends apparently on how many burning jet-skis have to be sprayed down and fat guys with Jager-breath resuscitated. In related news, the Plain Dealer followed up on Scene’s recent story on the CFD’s new “Paramedic Pumper” program. While we focused on Norman’s account – he claims EMS purposely is delaying assistance to the CFD since the implementation of the program, in an attempt to ward off any possible merging of the two companies -- the Dealer downplayed any such rift. After all, EMS Commissioner Ed Eckart has pushed for the Pumper program all along, the paper points out. Norman disagrees: “That doesn’t jibe with what firemen are seeing out on the street at all.” – Gus Garcia-Roberts
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