Volunteer fire fighters are clashing with fire administrator Paul Haigley over whether they can buy a new ladder truck for the Arminger company.
The volunteers at Arminger say they want to save county taxpayers about $400,000 by buying a new ladder truck for their station, said Robert Schappert, spokesman for the county Volunteer Firefighters Association.
The Arminger volunteers sold their old truck, contending it cost too much in time and money to repair. Haigley plans to move a second ladder truck at the station to the Jacobsville company about 1 1/2 miles away, leaving Arminger without a ladder truck unless the volunteers buy it themselves.
"We don't want to bash Paul," Schappert said. "Chief Haigley is a well-qualified chief. But we have a philosophical difference as to where the apparatus can be placed."
Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gary Sheckells said an internal study of where ladder trucks should be placed recommends a new truck for the Jacobsville company.
Haigley agreed the volunteers should sell their truck, Sheckells said. However, the chief also told firefighters the department could not afford maintenance of a new truck at Arminger, whichcould cost as much as $30,000 in the first year.
"We can't affordone at Arminger as well as one at Jacobsville," Sheckells said.
Sheckells explained that the Arminger, Jacobsville and Lake Shore companies are located pretty much in a row along Mountain Road. Putting the ladder truck in the middle station will reduce response time for residents who live toward Gibson Island. South Glen Burnie would help pick up the slack for residents who live in the area Arminger covers.
"Jacobsville ranks fifth on the internal study," Sheckells said. "Arminger is 28 out of 29."
Schappert said the volunteers feel Haigley should still allow them to buy a new truck.
"Let them move the county-owned reserve truck to Jacobsville and leave Arminger alone," Schappert said. "This was never an issue in past administrations. The association perceives it as an arrogant attitude on the part of the administration."
He said the cost of maintenance on a new truck would be less expensive because many of the parts are covered by a warranty.
"New trucks are also more fuel-efficient," Schappert said.