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Hydrant debate continues in Washington Township

October 16, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Representatives of the Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue Squad on Monday talked to the Washington Township Supervisors about their needs when it comes to fire hydrants.

The hydrants need to be flushed, tested and properly painted, they said.

"The painting part is very critical," said Jim McCleaf, an apparatus driver and member of the squad's board of directors.

The color of the top of the hydrant tells firefighters what the pressure is, he said.

A recommendation to delay hydrant flushing started some heated debate at last Wednesday's supervisors workshop meeting.

Supervisor Carroll Sturm since apologized for remarks quoted in last Friday's Herald-Mail.

Sturm said the coverage was accurate, but called one of his comments regarding the Washington Township Municipal Authority manager "inappropriate" in a prepared statement read Monday.

"How long are we going to give (Sean McFarland) a 'new guy get out of jail' card?" Sturm asked last week.

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"My response was based on an incomplete communication from WTMA concerning fire hydrant testing," Sturm said Monday.

He also lent clarification to a quote that "every time I go down there, all I get is yelled at," saying he meant the WTMA's board of directors and not its manager.

Supervisor C. Stewart McCleaf said last week that the recommendation to postpone hydrant flushing and flow testing was made to conserve water during this dry period.

"If we have a big fire, the volume of water we have for the fire is important" to know, Jim McCleaf said.

Patrick Fleagle, the fire and rescue squad's administrator, said the first responders will work with the municipal authority for testing, but will not do all the work themselves.

n The Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue Squad has hired five "top-notch" emergency medical technicians, Patrick Fleagle said Monday.

Last month, Fleagle talked with the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors about the need to hire part-time staff to supplement volunteers.

"I'm real enthused about them. I think they've helped us turn the corner," Fleagle said.

He said more EMTs could be hired.

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