About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, April 28, 2017

Another Allentown Fire Engine Breaks Down

Another Allentown fire engine had to be towed away again last night. If one more breaks down, firefighters willhave to respond to fire calls in a pick-up truck once again. In an interview with broadcast journalists, Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski snickered as he said that a couple of engines "were down for just a week."

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm unclear. Who is in charge of vehicle maintenance for the fire department? Have these vehicles been properly maintained and serviced ?

Also, if the vehicles are on their last legs, who is in charge of the Fire Department to budget replacements over the past few years?

These situations do not just "happen". They're caused by poor management. It's not like a fire engine suddenly falls into a sinkhole and needs emergency replacement. Equipment wears out over time, and catastrophic failures such as this are symptoms of bad management of assets.

Anonymous said...

Glad I don't live in Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Have any requests for new trucks been brought before council and denied in the last few years?

Anonymous said...

The issue here is the complete lack of any vehicle replacement plan. That is because the mayor, in spite of the detailed planning by the fire chief, has not allowed one to be put in place for just about every year he has been in office. Every fire department vehicle purchase has been to resolve a crisis. That means the city gets whatever is available, often a demonstration model and not one built to the city's needs, which means they are fraught with problems before they ever get in service. The vehicles are maintained by mechanics who lack any emergency vehicle maintenance training. The fire department attempted to modify the contract to include the requirement for emergency vehicle maintenance certification. The contract was signed without that provision. In short the fire department, year after year, does the required planning. In the end the mayor won't allow any of the fire department's planning to come to reality. Hence the current crisis. Keep in mind that this is the EXACT situation the fire department was in in 2008 when a pickup truck showed up first to a house fire. That fire spread to five houses. Here we go again....

Anonymous said...

Nice job 7:11. The problem, which can be doled out collectively, [Mr.Ed, the public safety committee and city council], is a direct indication of poor government in Allentown. The rotund one, his majesty Mr. Ed, is the main culprit to this catastrophe, however his bought and paid for city council and former adulated supporters on council who supported his budget proposals, should be man or woman enough to take the blame also. The preposterous notion that "Fed Ed" cares about public safety and the citizens of Allentown is a total JOKE and some of the illiterate electorate believes he is doing a good job. How can Allentown be on the upswing? You have to worry about being caught in cross-fire, worry about the fire department showing up for a fire, and a mayor who is on the ropes of indictment! Furthermore, you have no mayoral candidates elaborating on these issues or a plan to address them. This once Queen City is now chaos city and nothing looks bright about the future. If it wasn't for the NIZ money, none of these malevolent developers would be sinking a dime into Allentown.

Anonymous said...

" The vehicles are maintained by mechanics who lack any emergency vehicle maintenance training."

Now this is an interesting phrase. A Fire Engine, once you remove the pumping equipment, the Hook and Ladder, and all of the other specialized equipment, is basically a large truck. Engine, transmission, drive train... Now what exactly is breaking down that required a tow truck? The large truck components I would imagine that move the vehicle along the streets.

Fire trucks are pretty common, we're not the only city that has them. If the problem is a lack of training or skills to maintain the vehicles, the question must be asked, "Who is hiring unqualified personnel?"

Anonymous said...

Also, if the mechanics in the AFD are not qualified to work on the vesicles they have, its reasonable to ask if the firefighters themselves are qualified and properly trained as well ?

Is this amateur hour at the APD that we hire anyone off the street to work on critical equipment and man the hoses to fight the fires? Just what, as taxpayers are we paying these exorbitant salaries for ?

Anonymous said...

" If it wasn't for the NIZ money, none of these malevolent developers would be sinking a dime into Allentown."

Pawlowski has very little, if any to do with the NIZ. Nor City Council. That's all funded through Harrisburg due to the law that Senator Browne wrote and got passed in the middle of the night to give money to Reilly and Butz.

Pawlowski may have been Mayor while the new buildings are going up, but none of the NIZ activity is under his control or funding.

Anonymous said...

Exorbitant salaries? What should firefighters get paid? And also firefighters are not the mechanics. And the mechanics are not employed by the fire department

Anonymous said...

Who hires personnel for the city? Does the mayor interview every applicant for every job in city hall ?

If, for example, I just got out of the military and was a fireman. Who would I apply to? Who runs personnel? Who maintains emergency vehicles in other cities, such as Bethlehem or Easton? Are they in the same situation due to a lack of qualified personnel ?

Anonymous said...

They use these fire trucks to go on routine calls. The firefighters love speeding around town with their flashing lights and sirens only to turn back once they get to the call. I say send one truck per call and if it's warranted they can radio for additional trucks. These firefighters are putting everybody into a tizzy and making people worry for no reason.

Anonymous said...

Well if you ever see some of the noodnicks that go to city Council meetings and feel as though they have to go to the podium and speak about every topic like they are some sort of expert, you would know what kind of citizen they are trying to scare. They are a bunch of angry and clueless people.

Anonymous said...

Why not a donkey driven circus carnival wagon for team pyrotecnical crew, hell the mayor could fill in for the donkey and no one would know the difference!

Anonymous said...

Then I hope it's your house that's on fire with you inside while they "radio for additional trucks". To say your comment was asinine is a gross understatement.

Anonymous said...

@8:14

Let's be honest, 90% of the calls that fire trucks are sent to are not fires and need one truck....at most. I think the Allentown fire department is bloated and you people are just trying to scare everybody about their house burning down. Give me a break!

Charlie Sch said...

Part of the problem is that the city has purchased the cheapest trucks, which come from KME. You can do a google search and find many cases where fire departments have had reliability problems with KME trucks purchased 7 to 12 years ago, which is the age of most of Allentown's trucks. Some fire departments have been suing KME, including Boston.

Mayor Heydt privatized the city's vehicle maintenance and repair. It is done by a private contractor, who has a motivation to reduce costs and avoid hiring highly qualified mechanics, who demand more pay.

In response to a comment above: Fires can spread very quickly, particularly in old rownhouses that were converted into apartments 50 years ago. After the initial call for a building fire, multiple engines are sent, which is what is done by every fire department. If the first supervisor on the scene decides the other trucks are not needed, they are told to turn around.

I did see that the backup ladder truck was back in service yesterday, at a call at Hotel Traylor (which is definitely a situation where you need a reliable ladder truck). Normally, that is stored in a garage.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:39,You want honest? You don't have a clue what you are talking about and know nothing about the protocols established by the National Bureau of Fire Standards for fire responses. You are simply a troll trying to make excuses for a bad Mayor.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Mayor Heydt privatized the city's vehicle maintenance and repair. It is done by a private contractor, who has a motivation to reduce costs and avoid hiring highly qualified mechanics, who demand more pay."

Bingo.

Anonymous said...

So only unionized government employees should work on emergency vehicles ?

Anonymous said...

Government vehicles are normally purchased through procurement contracts negotiated by Harrisburg. They've already done the RFP work and municipal and county governments can use those contracts to buy approved vehicles at reduced prices. This is how government makes capital expenditures.

That may be how things were done. Also do not city departments submit budget requests, and in those requests ask for replacement vehicles? This is what management does. Things wear out and have known failure rates. Does the mayor make each and every budget request for every dingle department of the city?

If you're looking for a scape goat, look at who manages the AFD and look at who sits on budget committees and who approves city budgets.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Once again,you have no clue what you are talking about. Fire vehicles are not typical government vehicles,and are almost always made to the specs of an individual departent. In the case of Allentown, the Chief has made repeated requests for vehicles over the years and his operations budget has been slashed 65% since 2008. I wrote about this, and you chose to ignore it while posting this disinformation. This is on the Mayor.

Little Pisces in a Big Ocean said...

The city has their own mechanics that work on all city vehicles. And don't tell me a pumper is the same/performs as a trash truck. I'm a girl, even I know that. Basically what you're saying is if your dentist has a motorized chair to care for patients, then I guess he's incompetent if he can't fix the chair when it breaks. And don't get me started on questioning if the members of Local 302 are qualified for their job. You should really think about what you say before you post it. Karma and the universe has a way of schooling the ignorant.

Little Pisces in a Big Ocean said...

Swear to God I'm putting Sped Ed (whatever his name is) and the Mayors office on speed dial. I'm going to start each day with a complaint call.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between the fire equipment of Allentown and Bethlehem Bernie ? Or Harrisburg, or Scanton, or Erie, or any other similar sized city ?

Anonymous said...

Little Pisces. I don't believe it was the pumper that broke down that caused a tow truck. It was something else that's called a truck and had nothing to do with the specialized equipment used to fight fires.

Anonymous said...

"the Chief has made repeated requests for vehicles over the years and his operations budget has been slashed 65% since 2008."

So for nine years no one has done anything. Now a few weeks before an election it's a critical item.

Yeah, right. It's all one person's fault huh ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, It's the fault of the person who ignored multiple requests, cut the operating budget by 65% and who laughed when he talked about it.

Anonymous said...

And of course, none of this was ever discussed in a City Council meeting?

kristen didomenico said...

I hope one day you are not in the 10% that needs more than one truck. - AFD wife.

Anonymous said...

I hope one day we don't have a Democratic Political Machine running the City of Allentown.

Anonymous said...

The mayor had a chance to get muliple new engines at a discount and not have to start ti make payments for over a year and he turned it down. Also the head of vehical maintenance for the city gets a bonus based on what is left over ever year. So why wouldn't he cut corners.

Anonymous said...

Does the Mayor have the authority to make unbudgeted capital purchases without the consent of City Council ?

Anonymous said...

@11:39

LMFAO!
Thank you for your objective opinion lol. Obviously when some smoke detector or sensor goes off and there's obviously no fire there is no need for more than one truck to be sent. At an accident when some overanxious eyewitness calls 911, they should send one truck and if the second is warranted the first truck on scene could call for it instead of sending to right off the bat. You have no idea how many times I see fire trucks parked at Redners or at a pizza shop and the guys run in and get food. AFD is trying to scare everybody here. The trucks breakdown because they're needlessly used most of the time.

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:59, he does it all the time. But when convenient throws Council under the firetruck for his own malfeasance. And yes, this does have a political impact and it should. The pic posted today just cost you a few more votes, Fed Ed.

Anonymous said...

Curious. What capital expenses did the Mayor make without the consent of City council ? This isn't for new office furniture. Firefighting vehicles don't come all that cheap. A pumper truck cost Easton about $500,000 a few years ago.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:33, pretty much all of it. You violated the HRC and kept your capital plans away from them.

Anonymous said...

2:24 Examples ?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, fed ed and its campaign headquarters just happen to be in a tenament that succumed and consumed by a collectivity of malfeasance administrationally as well as private sector! Than one could travel just two blocks down on the left and see some still existing evidence of this collective collaoration of team hound from hell, but in that one the paperwork just happened to be overtaken by fire and brimstone!

Would this really be malfeasance or just a multifaceted criminal collective enterprise that could and would equal RICO! I love the sound of that word for the day though?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You don't need Council's permission to endanger public safety and refuse to purchase equipment. You get Council to approve budgets containing these capital expenditures and then you don't spend it . Or you do what you did with tutor beach pool you get them to approve a budget for one amount and then hit them with change orders after the fact

Anonymous said...

One would believe that if the City's public safety, especially the Fire Department, had this emergency for years on end, that it would be headline news. Rob Vaughn would be interviewing the Mayor, The Morning call would run a series of expose's on the issue, especially if a small fire turned into a major disaster, especially in a residential neighborhood that burned down because the AFD's equipment was all out of service.

I don't ever remember reading or hearing about it until just now. Now I do like to keep up with news and affairs, however this crisis seemed to come about in the past few weeks. Not the past few years.

Bernie O'Hare said...

After neglect that started in2008, this is what happens. And it has been a headline story in The Morning Call, WFMZ and the Phillynews stations. You know, the one in which you laughed.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I am a living breathing creature that can verify that this derilicktion of duty existed from its very start to appointment of king from the city economic development or as I like to call it blight to bright buy design!

Anonymous said...

This Safety issue has been a problem for years and has gone unreported. The news outlets in the area do not want to lose their access to City Hall, especially during political season. That is why 6ABC covered it last Friday. They could care less about you. The other reason it is out in the public now is that with a possible indictment hanging around, you have lost your standing in the party, the community and cannot keep things silent without your, let's say, retired team to help you.

Mr. Mayor you are being disingenuous when you pretend that you don't understand how your mismanagement of Allentown has put this great city into a Safety Crisis. When you don't understand what it is like to be in a life or death situation and having to count on the integrity of your equipment, I guess it is easy to laugh at a crisis. The firefighters know that every day they report on duty they are called to put their life on the line for the citizens of Allentown. By the way, many are Veterans as well and are used to a life of serving the citizens in a way that mitigates Safety Crisis and do not create these issues.

Don't take the Firefighters, Mayor, or Council's word on this, instead read the budgets over the past 7 or 8 years. All the supporting data is there. AFD budget slashed by 65%, Years of terrible Fleet services management, a Mayor who has always hid behind his bully pulpit. These are the reasons this is all coming to a head. Time has a way of catching up to everyone. Also, it was a pumper that was towed last night- a Truck is what broke down at last week's fire. I'm sure the Firefighters would love to discuss this and many other issues publicly or privately. Just reach out to them Mr. Mayor.

Anonymous said...

In the fire service"KME" stands for "keeping mechanics employed".

Anonymous said...

A conspiracy of silence until a few weeks before an election has a hollow ring to it. Also the smell of desperation.

I suspect this issue will be forgotten by the time the First of June arrives.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This issue was raised by firefighters, not political hacks like you. They are motivated by public safety, while you engage in bid-rigging and bribery.

Anonymous said...

Once again, your narcissistic mind can only think of yourself and politics. This is why neglected Public Safety issues are rearing their ugly head now. Unfortunately this Public Safety Crisis cannot go away due to your incompetence as a leader. Mr. Mayor, again I challenge you to reach out to the Firefighters of Allentown and discuss this Public Safety Crisis publicly or privately. I'm sure they would love the chance to confront you with the facts. Don't be afraid now. I, for one, am glad our Firefighters are willing to fight for the citizens whether it be a disaster, or a delusional Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Read the Morning Call this morning. It seems that the only place this is an issue is on this blog.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's bc you only read what you want to read.

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-firefighter-fire-truck-shortage-20170419-story.html

http://www.fireapparatusmagazine.com/articles/pt/2017/04/allentown-pa-firefighters-say-fire-apparatus-shortage-at-crisis-level.html

http://6abc.com/news/allentown-firefighters-say-shortage-of-trucks-is-critical/1900952/

http://www.wfmz.com/news/lehigh-valley/allentown-oks-nuisance-abatement-law/455807551

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the pumper which was towed the other night and supposedly fixed, is out of service again because of the same issue. It's time to actually hire a new garage management team and actually review the maintenance contract. We know how you like complete oversight of contracts. Also if you read the local news. While you were having nightmares of being indicted, the AFD were doing what they were sworn to do- putting out a house fire, rescuing a woman from the top of a building, and saving Pets' lives. With all of that said, once again politics is what drives you and Public Safety is a comical side note. You're tired- just move on to life outside of politics so that Allentown can heal.

Anonymous said...

Oh ok I thought this was a crisis that was ongoing for several years. Not several days .

Anonymous said...

These several days crisis just before an election sure has a political ring to it.

Julian Kern said...

As mentioned this issue has been going on since 2008.

November 12, 2008
A fast-moving fire gutted five row homes in south Allentown on Tuesday, causing more than $500,000 in damage and leaving 19 people homeless, authorities said.

It also sparked complaints from angry City Council members, who were shocked that four of the fire department's nine pumpers were out of commission when the blaze broke out and that an aerial truck on the scene broke down.

The fire began just after 9 a.m. outside 1912 and 1914 S. Delaware, Scheirer said. It started at ground level, below a wooden deck behind the properties.

Within minutes, the fire spread to adjoining homes in the Westbrook Park subdivision and quickly worked its way inside, possibly through vents or baseboards, Scheirer said. The row homes' design, with doorless staircases, allowed the fire to climb to the roofs, he said.

At a City Council budget hearing on public safety Tuesday night, council members complained to Scheirer that the fire department's equipment wasn't ready for the emergency.

"I'm dumbfounded that four trucks were out of commission," Councilman Peter Schweyer said.

Councilman Mike D'Amore said, "If I was one of the families whose house burned down today, I'd be disgusted to learn the first firefighters arrived in a [pickup truck]."

http://articles.mcall.com/2008-11-12/news/4240475_1_allentown-fire-fast-moving-fire-three-alarms

Also Truck 2 broke down at it's fire active fire when the city first got it. This issue has been ongoing since 2008 which is when the mayor cut the operating budget by 65%.

In 2015 I spoke at city council and complained how AFD was understaffed and that we didn't have the manpower to staff two ladder trucks as well as the issue of our fire apparatus breaking down at fires. However it pretty much went ignored by city council.

Now nine years later and we have engines and ladder trucks breaking down again setting AFD up for failure.

As I said in previous blog posts and at city council. AFD is is "top notch. They are quick at getting on scene. They are quick at fighting the fires. AFD deserves to have the proper staff and equipment. The situation is putting the lives of firefighters and the residents at risk.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe Pawlowski or his minions are making this a political issue rather than a public safety crisis. This can't be justified in any case. The fact of the matter is that the inglorious mayor has no empathy for his firefighters or citizens alike. How can a city even contemplate reelecting a completely incompetent leader as Ed Pawlowski. To do so will reflect on the citizens that vote for him: the illiterate, the misinformed and the dregs of society. This con-man, who has hoodwinked a city for over a decade, should be sent packing back to Chicago where his political and criminal talents will be accepted as the norm.

Anonymous said...

Such an emergency ......... Fear Mongering just before an election is more like it ...


The City of Allentown along with the Allentown Fire Department in partnership with the Allentown School District is rewarding the hard work of some elementary school students with a ride to school in a fire engine. The program begins Tuesday, May 2 at Executive Education Academy Charter School and will conclude on Friday, June 2 at Union Terrace Elementary School.

Two students from each of the participating elementary schools have been selected by their principal to be rewarded with the ride. Students were selected for excellence in academics, academic improvement, behavior, citizenship, perfect attendance, work ethic, leadership in the classroom and safety patrol.

The students will be picked up at their home by a fire engine and transported to their respective school. Arrival at the public schools is expected between 9:05am and 9:15am. Arrival at the charter schools is expected around 8:30am. The students will also receive a certificate from the fire chief and signed by Mayor Ed Pawlowski in recognition of their achievement.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, that last one seems to be fed ed and its nemacyst are at it again while in church on the run judgeing from post time from handheld!