JOLIET – The purchase of a quint fire truck was delayed this week amid opposition from Joliet firefighters.
The dual-purpose quint truck, which combined the functions of a fire engine and a ladder truck, would allow the fire department to reduce staffing and control overtime costs.
Firefighters, who this week packed City Council meetings where the purchase was debated, said it also would put fewer firefighters at the scene of fires and threaten public safety.
At a meeting Tuesday where a vote was to be taken, City Manager David Hales asked that it be taken off the agenda until city administrators could “have some serious dialogue with all fire personnel.”
“As we complete that discussion, we will come back to the council with our recommendation on that,” Hales said.
The city was going to buy an $842,000 demo model that Fire Chief Joe Formhals said may no longer be available once the purchase is delayed.
The City Council also delayed a vote on a planned conversion of a damaged tower truck into a quint, which would have cost $183,000.
The Joliet Fire Department now has one quint at Station 9 on the far West Side.
The new quint was slated to be put at Station 1 downtown, where firefighters said the smaller crew would be first on the scene at fires in some of the oldest and most densely populated sections of the city.
Formhals said he did not believe using a quint at Station 1 would compromise safety, and said 17 firefighters eventually are called to any structure fire, although they would have to be pulled from other stations.
The quint would be staffed by three firefighters. The engine and ladder trucks at Station 1 now are staffed by six firefighters, with three on each truck.