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Volk Put on Hot Seat

Fire Chief Dave Volk

PERTH AMBOY — At the 4/18/13 Caucus Meeting, Fire Chief Dave Volk gave an update on the two major fires that occurred during the week ending March 30, 2013.

The fire that happened on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 on Grove Street was called in by an off duty firefighter who lived around the corner.

The basement where the fire occurred was closed off. A dispatcher called in for mutual aid right away. The owner of the structure said that there was a space heater that he was not sure that it was turned off.

As of 4/18/13 the origin of the fire was not known. Volk continued to say, “There was a lot of storage in the basement and we didn’t have enough personnel to handle a fire of this size. The Division of Fire Safety stated that proper procedures were followed. There was a half hour of air in each tank of each air-pack. Fire burned through the stairway because of a door possibly being left open by second floor occupants.”

Councilman Kenneth Gonzalez asked Volk about the firefighter who was hospitalized because of inhalation burns to his lungs. “When did this firefighter make a distress call?” Volk told Gonzalez that it was, “Nine minutes after the firefighter entered the building.”

Gonzalez wanted to know if it is possible that this firefighter did not have a full half-hour of air in his tank. Volk answered, “There is a possibility. It’s also part of a firefighter’s responsibility to check their air-pack and their other equipment. An alarm goes off in a pack when the air supply is low which is picked up on our system. Not every firefighter has a portable radio. There are six radios available for volunteers.”

Gonzalez said, “There should be a daily checklist for all firefighters.”

Councilman Fernando Irizarry asked, “Why did you have to call mutual aid?”

Volk responded, “We do not have enough personnel and we would like to be able to have more firefighters but we do not have the budget for it.”

Council President Joel Pabon took exception to that comment saying, “The Council is being blamed for too many things that we have no control over.”

Resident Reinaldo Aviles said, “It was right that you grilled Volk. First Responders should be protected.”

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