[cifnmedia] Some fire equipment returned to Station 2

  • From: <gmcgrath@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Sean Aaron" <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 15:41:28 -0400

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             Wednesday, July 21, 2004 

            Some fire equipment returned to Station 2

            By Joe E. Carmean Jr. 
            Daily Times Staff Writer 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
              

            SALISBURY -- A portion of the rescue equipment confiscated by city 
officials from the Station 2 firehouse was returned to the volunteers over the 
weekend, said John Bartkovich, vice president of the fire company.

            But Bartkovich also confirmed Tuesday that the lawsuit against Fire 
Chief David See, which demands the equipment be given back to the volunteers at 
the Brown Street firehouse, is ongoing.

            "It's good news; a step in the right direction," he said. "But, 
until all of the equipment is returned or we are appropriately compensated for 
it, the lawsuit still stands."

            The most valuable items remain in the city's possession, Bartkovich 
said.

            Members of Station 2 claim the equipment was wrongfully removed 
from the Brown Street firehouse more than two months ago.

            "We paid for it. It's ours and we want it back," Harold Scott, the 
suspended Station 2 president, said when the lawsuit was filed in June.

            But Robin Cockey, attorney for the Station 2 volunteers, said the 
lawsuit does not request the return of the rescue truck taken by city 
officials, only the equipment -- worth $84,000 -- used to outfit the vehicle.

            "They have title to the truck. But, the equipment is ours," he said 
Tuesday. "They (returned the equipment) voluntarily, which is very commendable."

            But according to See, returning the equipment had nothing to do 
with the lawsuit.

            "Throughout the course of preparing what was Rescue Truck 2 -- now 
Rescue Truck 16 -- to be put back into service, we divided the equipment into 
three categories," he said Tuesday.

            See said he categorized the equipment as items that Station 2 
volunteers could use, items they can no longer use and items that would remain 
on the rescue truck.

            "Some of that rescue equipment is on the truck and that is where it 
is going to stay," he said.

            The items that are no longer of use, See said, could be sold and 
the money spent at the Station 2 volunteers' discretion.

            "Until a judge orders me to return the rest, it will stay on the 
rescue truck," he said.

            Scott has said the items were purchased with county funds, money 
raised by the volunteers, state grants and donations from within the Station 2 
fire district.

            "We never disputed ownership of the rescue truck," he said. "... We 
just want our equipment back so we can put (it) in on our other vehicles and 
continue to provide rescue services when needed."

            See has said the city is following a 2001 independent study that 
recommends consolidating rescue services from three trucks to one.

            "The reason for removing the truck is reducing redundancy within 
the department," he said. "Allowing them to keep the rescue equipment so it can 
be put on other vehicles just circumvents what we're trying to accomplish."


            a.. Reach Joe E. Carmean Jr. at 410-845-4635 or 
jcarmean@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

            Originally published July 21, 2004

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