By Ray Balogh
SYRACUSE — Turkey Creek fire territory and township advisory boards Monday, Oct. 11, approved two funding requests from Fire Chief Mickey Scott to purchase new radios and associated communications equipment and to replace aging fire hoses, nozzles and couplings.
Scott presented a quote from J&K Communications Inc. of Columbia City for $220,691.06 to supply the territory with upgraded equipment compatible with the technology of the new interdepartmental communications system being installed throughout the county.
Several public safety agencies are collaborating in the purchase of the equipment to secure a better price. Monday’s unanimous board action locks in the purchase at Scott’s requested amount before an anticipated cost hike occurs in December.
Scott also requested $46,917 to replace 4,300 feet of the department’s fire hoses. “The hoses we have now are over 20 years old,” he said, “and will start breaking down, pretty much all at the same time.”
The fire board unanimously approved the requested amount. At the township meeting, board member Bill Dixon moved to approve an expenditure “not exceeding $47,000” while asking Scott to try to obtain other bids.
“This is the taxpayer’s money, and if we can save them even a couple thousand dollars, they’ll be money ahead.”
The motion was passed unanimously.
Both expenditures will be paid upon delivery of the items, which will occur next year. The funds have already been allocated in the department’s 2022 equipment replacement budget, which was adopted Monday night.
Scott presented his department’s September report:
• During the month, the department responded to 14 fire calls and 107 EMS calls, bringing the department’s total emergency run for 2021 to 1,170. No property fire loss was reported in the territory.
• Department personnel completed 447 hours of fire and EMS training, predominantly in the area of equipment and vehicle operational checks, orientation, testing and training. EMS training topics included basic and advanced life support CPR recertification and pediatric assessment and care.
• Several department vehicles have been or are being repaired, one as the result of a manufacturer recall and another having been struck by another vehicle.
• Four participants attended the Sept. 29 CPR class held at Fire Station 1. The next class, which is free to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, at Fire Station 1, 402 N. Huntington St., Syracuse. Call (574) 457-5507 to reserve a spot.
Scott also reported, “We did respond to assist the Benton Township Fire Department for two barn fires on Friday, Oct. 1. There are several barn fires that have occurred within the last six months in Elkhart County,” he said, “and the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department is requesting the assistance from the public with any information about these barn fires.
“Please contact Detective Bob Smith at (574) 891-2352 or the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department tip line if you have any information in regard to these barn fires. You can also call me at the fire department, (574) 457-5507.”
The non-emergency tip line number is (574) 533-4151 and the sheriff’s office is (574) 891-2100. Tips may also be emailed via www.elkhartcountysheriff.com/resources/submit-a-tip1.
The board unanimously voted to adopt the 2022 operations and equipment replacement budget for the fire department.
The board’s vote was the final official action necessary to pass the budget.
Township Trustee Julie Close presented her September report. During the month, her office disbursed poor relief of $650 for rent, $4,659.37 for utilities and $699.33 for food.
The unusually high amount for utilities resulted from the August vouchers also being paid, as they were not submitted by the vendor until September.
The fire board will next meet at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, in Syracuse Town Hall. The township advisory board will meet at 7 p.m.