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Case Closed: Flagler Beach Commission Votes 4-1 to Buy $600,000 “Quint” Fire Truck

| October 14, 2014

Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher, at the near edge of the dais, pleaded for a delay in the vote to buy a $600,000 fire truck, but in the end four commissioners rebuffed her. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher, at the near edge of the dais, pleaded for a delay in the vote to buy a $600,000 fire truck, but in the end four commissioners rebuffed her. (© FlaglerLive)

There was debating, pleading, occasional shouting and plenty of sniping, but in the end a conclusion foretold months ago was ratified with a 4-1 vote as the Flagler Beach City Commission Thursday night opted to buy a nearly $600,000 fire truck called a “quint.”

Commissioners Joy McGrew, Steve Settle, Marshall Shupe and Jane Mealy voted for it. Commissioner Kim Carney, the current chairperson, voted against. The truck will not be in service for at least a year. IT will be paid for partly with a special fund the city has been amassing for just such purchases, but two thirds of the cost will be covered by money from the city’s infrastructure fund, which collects Flagler Beach’s share of county gas tax revenue.


Mayor Linda Provencher called Thursday’s special meeting–not with a vote in mind, but to raise questions about the proposed truck buy and suggest a delay. She did not expect to have the agenda turned, in essence, against her aims, but City Manager Bruce Campbell, who knew where the city commission’s votes were (the commissioners have been making their positions clear for months) opted to add an action item that called for a vote to buy the truck.

“I have heard nothing that changes my mind today,” Mealy said.

“Tonight this proves to me that this equipment is what this town needs,” Commissioner Joy McGrew, the only commissioner up for re-election in March, said.

Provencher and Carney tried various ways to convince fellow-commissioners to delay the vote, but got nowhere. “One of the firefighters got up and kind of made it sound like I don’t care about safety and I just Google things,” Provencher said. “What I asked Bruce from the very beginning, I said Bruce, you haven’t brought me one person outside of this fire department. I’ve talked to people outside of this fire department that have nothing to gain or lose whether Flagler Beach gets a quint or not.” Addressing the city’s fire captain, she said, “not pone person Bobby could you bring to me from outside this fire department that said this would be a good purchase. I like the fire department, I want to keep the fire department. But at the same time, you’re telling me if I don;t get you an aerial truck, I’m putting you in danger, yet if we get this aerial truck it’s going to take a year to build and we’re going to sit here a year without an aerial truck.”

“That’s standard,” Pace said, adding, about the firefighter’s comment, “If you were offended, I don’t think that was the lieutenant’s intent.”

I don’t think asking for references, I don’t think asking for people that do this for a living, that’s what I tried to bring here tonight, unfortunately I failed,” Provencher said. “No offense, but you’ve never bought a truck before.” Provencher noted that she’d been among the commissioners who years ago had agreed to buy the existing, and now non-functional, ladder truck that turned out to have been a bust for the city–and that’s playing into the fire department’s and the administration’s rationale for buying a new truck. She described herself as “taken aback” by the way the issue has been handled.

“Mow is the time to move on,” Pace said. “We’ve done what we can with that rig.”

The chambers were filled Thursday evening, this time mostly with opponents of the purchase (including three former commissioners, among them Ron Vath, who’d once been a firefighter). Notions of a straw vote went nowhere anymore than references to a petition that had gathered upwards of 600 votes in opposition to the purchase. But a majority of commissioners did not take the petition seriously.

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9 Responses for “Case Closed: Flagler Beach Commission Votes 4-1 to Buy $600,000 “Quint” Fire Truck”

  1. Rick Belhumeur says:

    Most people that vote in this city won’t confront commissioners at a meeting, but they will cast their votes in secrecy. This commission has basically told the majority of the people that signed the petition that they are insignificant. Something tells me that over the next couple of city elections, they’ll find out just how many of them are significant.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I sure hope I have someone to vote for running against Joy McGrew. And each other one in turn, save Kim Carney.

    This was an ignorant purchase and a solid waste of my tax money.

  3. Willy says:

    This should have been an easy “NO VOTE”

    – A town that has a moratorium on buildings taller than 3 stories, and only a few built before that regulation was put in place has no business or future need for an aerial apparatus.

    Here is where that money should have gone..

    1) Flagler beach Fire Department lacks ALS or Advanced Life Support services. The ALS level ambulance is provided by the county. If that ambulance responds elsewhere in the county, or is busy on routine training or transports Flagler Beach has NO PARAMEDIC or ALS coverage.. Which means NO Advanced life saving cardiac medications or advanced life care for a citizen should they have a cardiac event or other emergency. The next due ambulance would have to respond eating up precious minutes of care. Currently Flagler beach offers only Basic Life Support.

    2) Staffing. Currently Flagler Beach is a combination department. Mixed majority Volunteer members with 2 paid Firefighter’s per shift 24 hours a day. So on a good day with 3 people on a tuck 2 paid, and 1 volunteer, they still could NOT conduct interior firefighting, or life saving operations. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) mandates that for every 2 firefighters conducting interior operations 2 firefighters must be outside available. Flagler Beach could be in the situation of waiting for the next due company (coming from the Flagler Airport) bottom line, you shouldn’t buy the Quint if you don’t have the firefighters to fill it’s seats.

    3) The city’s tallest building the Aliki located on the North side of the city has underground parking for it’s residents. Depending on the weight rating of the garage’s concrete roof the department won’t be able to drive its new “quint” on to it’s surface. Meaning the truck will have to park at the street, making it useless as an elevated master stream, or means of egress for trapped occupants.

    I can go on, and on but, I won’t..

    In closing, I feel the purchase is a poor decision.

    These opinions are of my own and do not in any way represent the opinions of my employer..

  4. Retired FF says:

    What a waste of taxpayer money. FB Commission should be ashamed of itself buying a truck that the taxpayers will be burdened with for years. Can’t wait to see their reaction to the repair bill the first time someone runs the ladder into a low hanging tree or even worse puts it into power lines.

  5. Jim Carney says:

    Well, they did it again. The 4 Muskateers of the FBC Commission Still don’t get it.

    They continue to disregard EVERY governing body and recommending authority in the Fire Service.

    OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134 – National Fire Protection Agency 1710 5.2.3.4.1- National Association for

    Occupational Safety and Health – International Association of Fire Fighters, Etc

    The International City Management Assoc States – “At least 4 and in some cases 8 or more should respond to fire suppression operations”

    They also state finding that “5 person companies 100% effective, 4 person companies 65% effective and 3 person companies 38% effective”

    The District Chiefs’ Technical Advisory Comm. found “staffing is an even greater citizen safety issue than a firefighter safety matter” Without eliminating any of the tasks fire depts. are to accomplish, causes them to perform ALL tasks UNSAFELY with inadequate staff.

    If I can find this stuff, what’s the chance a Lawyer cant ? After all we are in willful disregard (on public

    record to boot) of these regs and guidelines. Mr. Campbell’s “it’s not a question of if but when” was

    about buying a fire truck. It now applies to when something WILL go wrong at a fire scene. Any guesses

    how that Lawsuit will turn out for the city ?

  6. Brian says:

    A complete waste of taxpayer money. This department operated just fine without an aerial truck anywhere in the county, long before Palm Coast Fire Department and Flagler County Fire Rescue had ladder and tower trucks. This was just Bruce Campbell’s way of high fiving his buddy Bobby Pace amd sticking it to everyone opposing him as City Manager.

  7. Bob S. says:

    Flager Beach Officials Really Shoved this Truck down theirResidents throat WAIT till THEY Start GETTING THE repAIR bILLS DOWN THE Road on this Particular piece of S_ _ t.

  8. ryan says:

    Oh, how terrible. The poor residents had to give those big mean firefighters new and reliable equipment. This is a tragedy, oh God! Too bad the truck is under warranty, even worse! Then the poor truck dealer will be forced to cover any defective parts. What a violation of free market principles. What a joke. Don’t complain when stuff breaks on old trucks and the taxpayers have to cover that.

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