The Richmond Register

Local News

July 6, 2013

Army depot to furlough firefighters despite safety concerns

County fire chief, Congressman say community could be at risk

RICHMOND — Blue Grass Army Depot firefighters

are scheduled to begin furloughs Monday despite clear instruction from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that such personnel should be exempt to the "extent necessary" to protect life and property.

Hagel issued a memo to the armed forces in May that provided a list of personnel exempt from furloughs. On that list was “employees necessary to protect safety of life and property.”

The fire department at the depot, which houses 500 tons of chemical weapons and regularly detonates and disposes of conventional munitions, already was undermanned, depot sources say.

“I want the community to know because of this, their safety is at risk,” one of the sources said. “... (the community) will be losing their first response for chemical leaks and spills.”

The Register has agreed to not name those who came forward with information about staffing levels because they fear retaliation.

Furloughs that require most federal employees to reduce their hours by 20 percent are being ordered to comply with the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Most depot employees work four 10-hour shifts a week, according to depot officials.

However, firefighters work 24-hour shifts and regularly get overtime, so planning furlough time off is more complicated, according to sources connected to the department.

The Bluegrass Army Depot typically has seven firefighters per shift, four to operate the fire engine and two to drive the ambulance. This is below the 13 firefighters per shift recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, a safety standard which the federal government is supposed to follow as mandated by Department of Defense policies and federal law.

According to documentation provided to the Register, legal opinions sought by the International Association of Fire Fighters support the union’s assertion that budget sequestration requirements do not supplant the NFPA guidelines and DoD policies. Not following those guidelines may constitute a violation of federal Occupational Safety and and Health Administration standards.

Text Only
Local News
  • 4-23 Gravestone.jpg In search of the last resting place

    At a popular illegal dump site off Bybee Loop in Waco, two marble grave markers were among some items found there by Pat and Ronnie Aldridge, residents who live about 250 yards from the area.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fiscal court awards EMA bids

    Two more bids were awarded at Tuesday’s Madison County Fiscal Court meeting for the emergency operations agency.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Peter Crowe.jpg Intoxicated man charged with wanton endangerment

    A 27-year-old Richmond man was charged Sunday with second-degree wanton endangerment after he was found intoxicated and walking with several young children in the Keystone Drive area, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Absentee voting available for May 20 election

    Walk-in absentee voting for the May 20 primary has begun and will continue until May 19, County Clerk Kenny Barger announced Tuesday at the Madison Fiscal Court meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Tab-a-PULLooza1.jpg Friday last day to collect pop tabs for Tab-a-Pullooza

    Before throwing that soda can in the recycling bin, twist off the pop tab and donate it to a local elementary or middle school for this year’s Tab-a-Pullooza celebration.

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Pot throwing downtown leads to arrest

    A Berea man was arrested Saturday after police say he damaged a downtown Richmond business and a parked vehicle by throwing flower pots.
    Jonathan A. McCullough, 34, was charged with first- and third-degree criminal mischief as well as alcohol intoxication, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 21, 2014

  • London police chief ordered to stay away from Berea woman

    A woman who who moved to Berea in February 2013 after a live-in relationship with London Police Chief Stewart O. Walker has obtained an emergency protective order against him from Madison Family Court.

    April 21, 2014

  • Task force reveals plan to make ‘Meaningful Math' matter

    It’s all too common to hear parents say, “I was never good at math...,” as if to excuse their children for not being good at math, said Madison County Schools Superintendent Elmer Thomas.

    April 21, 2014

  • WP_20140419_001.jpg Cruisin’ with the Oldies

    With the sound of classic songs wafting through the air Saturday, hundreds of people took advantage of the summer-like temperatures and turned out for the Kirksville Community Center car show.

    April 21, 2014 9 Photos

  • 4-18 Hong Kong 1.JPG Hong Kong fifth-graders visit Kit Carson

    A group of students from Hong Kong got a taste of the bluegrass last week thanks to an invitational education program at Kit Carson Elementary School.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results