About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Allentown Ladder Truck Breaks Down Battling Blaze

On Friday, I told you things are so bad at Allentown Fire Department that a pick-up truck is being used as one of the six "engines" that respond to fire calls. There are supposed to be two ladder trucks, but one of them has been taken out of service. Between 2008 and this year, Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski has slashed the operations budget by 65.52%.

"He is setting our department up for failure," warned firefighter Jeremy Warmkessel.

On Tuesday, that failure happened.

Firefighters responded to a fire at the rear of 654 N Jordan with their one remaining ladder truck. It broke down as they battled the blaze, endangering both firefighters and the citizens they serve.

The fire vehicles are serviced by a a garage whose manager seems always to be "waiting for parts." He receives a bonus each year, determined by how much he saves the City.

Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of using defective equipment. But that is only a matter of time.

35 comments:

Julian Kern said...

So now we have no ladder truck in service? It was from my understanding that we had only one ladder truck in service due to low manpower and the other ladder truck we have was operational. Our ladder trucks seem to be breaking down constantly. When we first got truck two it broke down at it's first active fire. Firefighters had issues with it at a recent fire on 9th street and now truck one broke down while operating at a fire. We shouldn't have only one ladder truck in service in the first place in my opinion. Several years ago we always had two ladder trucks in service. Truck one stationed out of central and truck two stationed out of hibernia. The lack of staffing and the equipment issues need to be addressed and addressed quickly. These issues are putting our firefighters and the residents lives at risk. I am appalled that these issues are ongoing problems for our fire department. AFD is a great fire department and our firefighters are always quick at fighting fires in the city. In my opinion they are top notch and are the best in the Lehigh Valley but as firefighter Jeremy Warmkessel said the city is setting the fire department up for failure. Our fire department does not deserve this type of treatment from our government. They deserve the proper staffing and adequate equipment. You would think with all the development downtown the city would make sure our fire apparatus is adequate to fight fires and our fire department was properly staffed. I am calling out all candidates running for mayor and city council this election to speak on this issue and tell me how you would address it. Our fire department deserves to be heard and deserves proper treatment from our elected officials.

Julian Kern said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Pawlowski needs to be removed by handcuffs and sent away. His cronies need to be voted off council this year. Wake up people of Allentown!

Anonymous said...

I don't believe truck two was down due to manpower, it was a POS and broke down so much that they removed it from service. I believe the utilize truck 1 from Hibernia and when needed engine 11 is actually a quint, which is a type of truck. This always seemed like a screwed up way of doing things it is Allentown. So it didn't surprise me.

Anonymous said...

Truck 1 is down due to manning. Truck 2 is out of Hibernia. They use both the kme truck 1 and 2 as truck two. Basically which ever one is broken the least goes to Hibernia and the other one to the garage

Anonymous said...

I had thought there had been a new purchased one because in the 600blk of allen street there was a tragedy of snowtobers ice storm were I had saw a firefighter hooking a hose to a nice shinny one and it popped off only to deem the home knocked down immediatly! Public services are not a top priority for designated areas and they are even helpped to be livable blight and degredation destinations out side of the Zone!
These designated areas are hovels that can be bought and sold to underhanded buyers and filled to unsuspecting tenants that are deemed to have no human rights as well as not to mention the slavery that they are sold into to meet that 1st of the month deadline?

Anonymous said...

Fed Ed's revenge on the AFD union. This self-centered denying lunatic, who is out of touch with reality, should be removed for mental incompetence and severe mental disability and malfeasance to do the job. He is going to get somebody killed and he don't care! Where is council on this? As usual, hiding their necks in the sand and doing nothing. If I was JB, I'd be worried about my vulnerable towers in the heart of the city while Nero will help fan the flames for their extinction. It seems that "Fed Ed" not only has the union in his sights; but the the ex-supporters too!

Anonymous said...

Do you think the truck would not have broken down if any other Democrat was Mayor ?

Anonymous said...

For years and years they sent these trucks out for routine 'false alarm' calls where they knew darn well there wasn't a fire but some malfunctioning sensor or alarm somewhere. If somehow the dispatchers knew the difference between a real fire and somebody smelling something or a faulty alarm and therefore only sending the ladder truck out when absolutely needed for a real fire, these trucks would've lasted years longer than what they did. Why is it that volunteer fire companies all over the Lehigh Valley never seem to have the trouble that Allentown does. Heck, I think Allentown should switch to a volunteer fire department like the municipalities do. I think the fire department is the biggest waste of money.

Anonymous said...

Basically allentown has no trucks because of the mayor and low manpower because of him to

Jay Hahola said...

You are clearly an idiot....Is it only a waste if money if your house isn't on fire? You must be the mayor it clearly one if his cronies. Volunteer departments are a dying breed. People are too lazy or ignorant, as in your case, to lift a finger to help anyone but themselves. I spent 30 years as a volunteer EMT and Firefighter. We had better equipment because the towns didnt cut our budgets 65% and we held fund drives to repair or replace our outdated equipment. Instead of bashing the department based on your perception, get the training, pick up a hose or a stretcher, and do your part. It's was to bitch from the outside looking in. Try it inside of a burning building sometime. It will definitely change your mind as to the perception you have of those that routinely risk their lives for people they don't know.

Anonymous said...

You obviously have a extremely low understanding of public safety and the fire service. Those "false alarms that dispatchers could figure put through the phone" often times turn out to be working fires in which people need to be evacuated and hoselines need to be advanced. One cannot figure out the exact nature of the physical problem through the phone. Everytime a fire alarm sounds, a fire crew needs to be dispatched to investigate what set the alarm off. Negligent handling of the said alarm may result in unnecessary death, property damages, and injuries galore. For the record, you may not hear as much regarding issues around the lehigh valley regarding volunteer companies and their apparatus, but the issues exist. If you are wondering why does AFD have so many fleet issues- this is due to poor maintenance from the garage supervisor, hard use due to fires and other emergencies and the lack of a good replacement policy coming from the mayor's side of the fence. The fact that you think the fire department is a waste of money shows your disregard for human life and lack of education as far as what a fire department does. AFD is on call 24/7, every minute of every day of every year. They respond to medical emergencies such as CPR, hazardous materials calls, technical rope rescues, vehicle fires, vehicle rescues, collapsed structures, building fires, pedestrians struck by vehicles, animal rescues, dive rescues, and a slew of other calls. Instead of waiting for a volunteer to get the page from the dispatcher, get in their car from home, arrive at the station, put on their gear, wait for a crew to go on the call with, figure out the address, and then respond- Allentown residents have the peace of mind to know as soon as the dispatch goes to the station, firefighters are throwing on gear and entering directly in the truck and heading to their destination to help someone. How many people have you helped in your lifetime? Or do you prefer to criticize civil servants and enjoy a false sense of righteousness? As you can tell, I have done my research on the fire dept and I understand the issues that they deal with. They need equipment, manning and support from the public. I applaud these men and women out there helping our community. Kudos to you all AFD! Stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Union wages drive cost reductions in other areas. So sorry.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You're not sorry, you're pathetic. You have no empathy for the people or firefighters whose lives are being endangered to save a few dollars. God help those firefighters if they had no union.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that once again firefighters are being seen as an unnecessary service. Let's cut firefighters to save money instead of the political pal with a bullshit made up position that makes 200k a year. But they are the first ones you blame when they can't save your loved one in a fire. STOP THE ATTACKS ON FIREFIGHTERS. Give them the tools and manpower they need. It's a shame the post 9/11 hype wore off so fast. FTM-PTB

Anonymous said...

"Union wages drive cost reductions in other areas"......really?!? So the fact that we get fairly compensated for the work we do is an excuse to cut our budget, decrease our man power, and give us unreliable equipment to protect the citizens of Allentown. Sorry, I don't see how your argument has any legs in lue of the wasteful spending the city administration has approved over the years. How much has the city wasted on the Ceader Beach Pool? How much in lawyers from Philly to protect the crooked Mayor? The list goes on and on and on. But your right.....it's the "Union wages" that drive cost.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jay, I and many others have an immense amount of respect for our first responders. In Hanover Tp, a park will soon be dedicated and named First Responder Park. Please don't be turned off by some anonymous coward.

Anonymous said...

Union wages are the moneys paid by each member of the union to support his or her union. At least get the terminology correct if you aim to attack organized labor.

Anonymous said...

Ed, can you just go to jail already, and let a Republican step in and free up some cash to fix the mess you made. You are an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that a city of Allentown's size has only two ladder trucks and on any given day, just one. That's a very thin margin for error of any kind.

Does the City have an ordinance that permits only one fire at a time?

Anonymous said...

Rural Metro corporation is one example of a private company providing fire protection and emergency medical services under contract. Outsourcing government services to private companies is one way that municipalities can manage costs.

Anonymous said...

@9:35 and 9:53

Nobody is arguing about cutting out the fire department, just the logic in sending a ladder truck to 'routine calls' such as an EMS assist, car accidents, odors or a cat stuck up a tree. Send the regular engines or the AFD pick up truck for those.

Anonymous said...

@1:07
The truck company doesn't get sent to EMS calls or car accidents.

Aussux said...

Rural-Metro is scandal plagued and a nightmare. Do some research.

Aussux said...

What in the ever loving Hell is wrong with some of you? When did those men and women who you scream at the top of your lungs to "HELP!" and "HURRY UP!" in your and your neighbors' times of need become the enemy?

When did you begin to think it's alright for those very same men and women to do one of thee world's single most dangerous professions with poor and substandard equipment? Is it not bad enough for you that they're already risking their lives, but now you want them to do it with apparatus and equipment that further places their lives in jeopardy?

When it's your house or your neighbor's house attached to your house that is burning, will you stand quietly by when the firefighters cannot quickly and efficiently extinguish the blaze because of substandard equipment or worse equipment failure?

When did it become alright to take out bonds for arenas and condos and cut funds from public safety?

Anonymous said...

2:04 Inflated personnel costs impact all areas of the budget. The pie is only so big.

Anonymous said...

@2:04 pm

Seriously? These guys do absolutely nothing throughout the day and night except hang at their little station and wait for the alarm to go off. Let's be honest, these firefighters have everybody in a tizzy about how important they are yet the vast majority of the day they do absolutely nothing except maybe wash the trucks and polish the tires.

Anonymous said...

I rarely say something like this without being face to face but you're an idiot. Please do some homework before showing your stupidity. Do you have any idea of the call volume they do? Please look it up and then you can develope a plan for a volunteer FD to handle that massive workload. I would love for you to ride along for a few shifts and see what they see on a daily basis. I'm sure the lesson would change your naive opinion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I learned long ago to respect the work that firefighters do, whether they are volunteers or employed by a city.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right......we just hang out and watch TV or play X-box. We dont't spend dayshift training, not do we spend nights weekend or holidays away from our families. We don't also respond to every emergency, we pick and choose which runs we make. I know for a fact that Eng 9 didn't run nearly 3,000 calls for service in 2016. But you're right we're just a bunch of lazy civil service employees who are more interested in self aggrandizing than thing else.

Anonymous said...

The recently former City Manager was the architect behind the plant to gut the fire department. I hope his cooperation does not get him off without jail time.
The administration is a den of thieves.

Anonymous said...

@3:46

And how many of those 3000 (?) calls were absolutely necessary to send a bright shiny red fire engine with flashing lights to? I'd say 500 TOPS. The majority of the time the firetruck is not necessary to go on EMS assists where some uninsured person has a toothache looking for a free ride to the hospital. You guys take yourselves way too seriously. The police and the EMS are the real emergency people who earn their money.

david baney said...

Some night when you wake up choking on smoke and crawl under your bed crying with no where to turn...then you tell me how we don't earn out money while we are fighting our way thru fire and smoke to find you and drag your butt out to the street for your free ride to the hospital. I hope you don't have kids and have to stand in the street while your house is on fire when we roll up in our shiny red truck with flashing lights and then you want us to rush in thru the flames to rescue your kids or wife....oh don't worry even though we know you are a SOB we will. We will always risk our lives to save yours. So some rainy night when you come to and you find a guy in a helmet holding a bandage on you so you don't bleed to death, please tell him how worthless he is.........

Anonymous said...

Apparently stupidity is contagious. 911/police/fire/ems do not make the protocols for what or who is dispatched on a call (they have little if ANY flexibility in this regard.) There are NATIONAL and STATE standards that must be adhered to.

Example: as soon as you have a patient with difficulty breathing - EMS and Fire are normally dispatched. When agencies fail to follow protocols people die and taxpayers get stuck with legal bills and big payouts to families.

I guess the firefighters should be paving roads during their breaks in between 3k calls a year? When the alarm sounds I want someone physically and mentally ready to respond and handle my emergency.

Insurance premiums are going to go up for Allentown homeowners unless these staffing and equipment issues are fixed. So taxpayers will get the shaft again!

Anonymous said...

This is disgraceful. AFD, you shoulder some of the blame for these despicable comments. You need to get out in front of the public and let your citizens see what you do, how you do it, how hard it is, and what it takes to be a firefighter today. Reading this is sad. Having a busy metro FD discussed like this is horrific. You're proud accomplished firefighters and while you are good at the job, you're not getting the message across. To the citizens...shame on you. YOU decide on what type of fire protection you get. It's like selecting insurance, you can buy the budget policy but it don't cover much. In a tight urban city, with attached rowhomes, you can't afford the crappy policy. You deserve, and NEED, the high end policy. Talking about replacing them with volunteers...are you nuts? name one metropolitan city in the USA with vollies??? There aren't any. Your ISO rating which determines your insurance rates would drop, and the insurance costs would be huge. Once again, the AFD isn't selling how good they are and how much they SAVE the city. Folks, get behind your FD before you don't have one left that can save anything.