9 firefighters to be promoted in ceremony tomorrow

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Mayor Scott Avedisian will join Fire Chief James McLaughlin, the Board of Public Safety and members of the Warwick Fire Department to celebrate the promotion of nine firefighters on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza, 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick.

Mayor Avedisian will administer the oath of office. The Fire Department Honor Guard will post colors and retired Captain William Tyler will sing the National Anthem. Father Robert Marciano will give the invocation and benediction. Avedisian and McLaughlin will offer remarks. Following is the list of firefighters receiving promotions: Assistant Chief Marcel E. Fontenault, Jr., Captain Brian E. Cobb, Captain Thomas F. Brady, Lieutenant William A. Lloyd, Lieutenant Seth P. Francis

Lieutenant Andrew B. Erkkinen, Rescue Lieutenant Michael J. Monteiro, Rescue Lieutenant Andrew J. Rushton and Inspector R. Michael Bingham.

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Thecaptain

WHEN EVERY SECOND COUNTS

Anyone that has attended a city council finance meeting when the Warwick Fire Department is requesting a piece of equipment, understands that the department always prefaces the request using the phrase “every second counts”. We have heard endless discussions about public safety where that phrase has been used. Apparently, that phrase doesn’t count when the fire fighters are shopping at the local supermarkets.

It is no secret that I vehemently oppose firefighter on duty shopping. I have publicly stated my opinion, the reasons for my opinion, and I have substantiated my opinion with fact based analysis as to the actual cost to the taxpayer of on duty shopping, and to the possibility of negative consequences to response time. For many years I have made public, numerous examples of fire fighter abuse of equipment and tax dollars, violation of diesel idling laws etc., with several instances making the nightly news, and I have been responded to by the mayor with a statement that some sort of “discipline” has been handed out.

In fact, in the Mayor’s letter to me of November 17, 2015 the mayor states “I share your concern that the delivery of fire services in an efficient and effective manner, is of paramount importance. On duty shopping using fire apparatus is not supportive of these goals”. However, Mayor Avedisian continues to allow this abuse to go unchecked. Unfortunately now, the amount and magnitude of the shopping trips is now at a point where the Warwick Fire Department is endangering the community, and creating yet another liability for the taxpayer.

On January 12 at 10:50 am The Warwick Fire Department Special Hazards vehicle arrived at the Greenwich Ave. Stop and Shop and dropped off 2 men to shop. The vehicle then proceeded to drive to the opposite end of the store, go behind the building, travel behind the building to Lowes property, and hide out behind the sheds at Lowe’s. This is the common MO. I proceeded to drive behind the building to take photos of the truck when to my astonishment, I found another piece of apparatus, Engine 9, at Stop & Shop, at the same time with a crew of 3 men, two who were inside shopping. So now the city is down 2 pieces of apparatus and 6 men, but as the mayor has indicated in his letters to me, the men have radios and they can always be rapidly deployed from the market to a call.

I have argued this point and made particular points that a piece of apparatus exiting a parking lot is handicapped in terms of a timely response due to parking and traffic issues within the lot. Particularly at the Greenwich Ave location where there are 6 speed bumps that have to be traversed in the area of pedestrian foot traffic. Anyone with a shred of common sense would have to agree to these facts.

So what are the chances that response time can be impeded by men shopping on duty? Let me lay out the time line of the incident that took place on this date Jan.12, 2018.

Prior to 10:50, men from Engine 9 where already in the store shopping. During the time frame that 6 fire fighters and 2 trucks were on the Stop & Shop property, an emergency call was received by the WFD. As the 2 pair of men were casually walking to their respective apparatus, I heard yet another siren coming from the south.

At 11:08 Ladder 1, our largest and most expensive apparatus went screaming by the Stop & Shop and appeared to take a right onto Metro Blvd. Rescue 3 followed Ladder 1, three minutes behind it. Assuming that Ladder 1 was at Station 1 in Apponaug, I estimate that from the time the call came in, until the time Ladder 1 passed Stop & Shop, no less than 4 or 5 minutes had passed and 7 to 8 minutes for Rescue 3 (give or take 60 seconds). I am currently seeking the official time of the call.

The question that I have for the Mayor, the Fire Chief, and any resident who wishes to chime in, is:

Was the response time quicker for Ladder 1 to come from Apponaug, or would the response time from Engine 9 and Special Hazards, just a few hundred yards away, have been a faster response?

Let’s take all of the emotional nonsense and hero talk out of this discussion and look at the facts, the distance, and the current location of apparatus.

I watched and photographed 4 men lazily walk out of the market with 2 racks of Soda and a small bag of groceries, wave to me and laugh, as someone just a couple blocks away required emergency response. That response had to come from miles away as these men shopped.

If it was your mother or grandmother that was having a stroke, when every second counts, would you elect to have apparatus travel 2 miles to you or 2 blocks? Put yourself or your loved one in a life or death situation, and apply the location of apparatus, the distance of the apparatus to the emergency, the priority of shopping over dispatching other apparatus from miles away and remove the hero emotional talk.

When every second counts, as we have heard Chief McLaughlin say every month, clearly, this is the exception. It is indisputable that the positioning of the apparatus at the market and the number of men at the market at the same time, compromised public safety.

I am appalled and dismayed of the cavalier attitude that these men displayed as they left the store. They even waved and blew the horn laughing, as Ladder 1 was screaming down Greenwich Avenue with Rescue 3 several minutes behind. It took about 3 minutes for these trucks to get the men in the vehicle and exit the parking lot due to the speed bumps, traffic, and pedestrian foot traffic. Yet every second counts?

I pray that the gross negligence displayed by these men had no dire consequences to the person in need, but we will never know that now, will we?

This department’s management, and the city management, is currently in a state of chaos. For any member of the Warwick Fire Department to park a vehicle in such a way as to impeded rapid egress, in my opinion, should be an offense justly rewarded with immediate termination. Unfortunately, when you have a mayor that panders to the unions, no real disciplinary action is ever taken.

On any given day, you can see apparatus parked in compromising positions of egress at all of our local markets. Emergency apparatus should be used for emergencies only. Any other use should not be tolerated by the community. I’m tired of hearing that the men have to eat, that they don’t have a normal schedule, that they don’t have enough time to have a proper meal. If they don’t have enough time to have a proper meal, how the hell do they have enough time to shop for groceries then go back to the barn to eat the meal?

If that’s the case, get your food on the way to work, stock up your groceries and store them in the stainless steel Sub Zero appliances that the taxpayer has purchased for you, instead of shopping for one slice of cheese at a time. Unfortunately, under the current mismanagement, this behavior will be rewarded.

Tuesday, January 30
PaulHuff

TLDR

I could care less if they shop on duty.

Tuesday, January 30
Warwickcitizen

Here he goes again, who care if they go shopping . You really need to get a life, your obsession with WFD is really odd behavior, you should really seek counseling or get another hobby.

Tuesday, January 30
emw100

So with just a ladder and a rescue heading to the call, I would have to assume that it was a medical call. That being said, Engine 9's station is Commonwealth Ave and would not have covered a response near Metro Center Blvd, unless the apparatus designated for that area was at another scene. Rescue 3's station is near Vets Jr. High. They were probably closest (clearing Kent?) and took the call if Rescue 1 (in Apponaug) was on another run. That's probably why they were a few minutes behind Ladder 1...they had a little bit longer to go if they were coming from the hospital. That is the way things work in pretty much every city and town.

I certainly don't disagree that this overall piece was written with concern for Warwick citizens in mind (in response to an article on promotions, no less), but I do believe that "Thecaptain" was misinformed when constructing said commentary. It really helps to understand the hows and whys of the way things operate before casting aspersions. Not everything is as cut and dry as it might appear to be. Grocery shopping aside, those 2 pieces of apparatus were not delaying any responses as they would not have been on the run card for that type of call.

Wednesday, January 31
Thecaptain

emw,

Here is the point that you are missing. In numerous communications from the mayor, I have letters explaining to me that when any vehicle is out "shopping", if there is a call in the area, they will respond. What you dont understand is that while these 2 trucks with 6 men were in the stop and shop, the call came in to respond to Tamerisk Assisted Living at 11:00 am. Tamerisk is exactly .29 tenths of a mile (about 586 yds) away from where there was emergency apparatus. They shopped and played around in the parking lot while apparatus from miles away had to respond and they where in that parking lot until 11:08 am.

The mayor and the chief, in their own words have said that when an apparatus is out shopping, the nearest apparatus will respond. That was not the case. Further, as the chief has said in public, the Special Hazard truck is city wide with no designated area.

Its all about optics, and the optics are bad.

Wednesday, January 31
FASTFREDWARD4

I have 1 word to the Captain of ball busting. NO BODY CARES YOU CAN TALK AND YOU CAN EVEN BLOW THE STATION DOWNS. NOBODY CARES. But that is your rights.

Thursday, February 1
Daydreambeliever

Does the Captain say how he narrowly missed hitting engine 9 with his personal vehicle as they were driving the the parking lot? Is he instigating something?

As for the so called laughing an waving, I believe the individuals in question were just saying hello as in performing PR work to the public not knowing who you are?

Not everyone knows the infamous Rob Cote...I know shocking!

Thursday, February 1
Daydreambeliever

Why is it the captain has the mayor's personal cell phone number as well as other higher department heads in the city?

I am taxpayer as well as 70,000 others and we don't have this privilege. Every time there is any wrong doing (in his eyes) he picks up the phone and the mayor answers.

The mayor needs to stop taking his calls and let his Secretary take a message like the other 70,000 tax payers in the city.

I don't understand why his opinion carries so much clout with the mayor who then calls the fire chief or highway chief and screams at them so they scream at there employees all because the captain saw a truck at the market or a highway truck at DD.

He has had some valid points over the years but how has he been able to get a hold of the mayor when myself having been a taxpayer the last 25 years has never gotten the opportunity to talk to him directly rather always have to leave a message.

Something is terribly wrong here. If the mayor chooses not to run again and we do indeed get a new mayor I hope the captain is put ion his place that he will be treated like the other 70,000 and not given this BS privilege.

Thursday, February 1
Thecaptain

Obviously Mr. Daydreambeliever, you are day dreaming again. The mayor has never once answered a call from me or returned a call, not once ever. That is because he is ashamed of his behavior and knows that I do my research before I speak and he has no defense for my allegations. Just read today's front page.

As far as narrowly hitting Engine 9, that's also part of another daydream, as the photographs will indicate that they were taken from across the parking lot. If you would like them, just send me your email address. However, now that you mention it, Chris Sullivan was one of the men leaving the Stop & Shop in the Special Hazards Truck. You remember that truck right? Thats the one that was at the marina party making time with the ladies when they were video taped having pizza and dancing at the Gazebo. You remember, that in this newspaper the mayors chief of staff stated that they did not belong there and they were "reprimanded".

So if your mother was having a stroke, and there were EMT's 2 blocks away, you would rather have her wait until the truck that was 4 miles away got there? Take a look into reality and stop the daydreaming.

Thursday, February 1
Warwickcitizen

Captain

Please we are begging you to go get professional help, you are way to obsessed with WFD and Mayor Avedisian. It’s is truly sad that you have nothing else to do with your time except follow fire trucks around.

You haven’t gotten it yet nobody actually cares about your idiotic ideas.

The only other thing I can think of is that you are jealous of the FF / Mayor.

Thursday, February 1
Thecaptain

That's so funny Warwick citizen. But then again, in your mind, isnt everyone in the world jealous of the firefighter? Isnt it every persons dream to be a Warwick firefighter? Or maybe you may just be a bit concerned that a business man like myself, who is sick if the scams, sick of the nepotism, sick of the waste and abuse, might just have enough brains to uncover the schemes and put you all in some hot water? Hmmmm, maybe, we shall see. Right now it surely seems that the Secretary of State cares, and so does the AG.

Thursday, February 1
Warwickcitizen

I think the WFD and all firefighters do a dangerous job everyday. That you certainly would have the guts to do. People like you spend time criticizing them , but would never do what they do.

Again I repeat go get help with your obsession . You obviously aren’t much of business man when all you do is follow fire trucks all day.

Friday, February 2