Fire chief’s job draws interest from across the country

EAST PALESTINE – The full-time fire chief position advertised by the village in early July has drawn interest from 41 people, and most applicants are from outside the area, according to Village Manager Pete Monteleone.

The deadline to apply was Aug. 4, and Monteleone said of the 41, four applications were from members of the department, 10 were from the surrounding area (not including nearby Pennsylvania) and the remaining 27 were from outside the area.

The position drew applicants from as far away as Colorado, Florida and Texas and a majority of the out-of-state applicants have no connections to the village, he added.

The village began advertising the position after current Chief Brett Todd announced in late June he would be retiring after 12 years in September.

Todd makes $54,000 a year and is the only salaried employee on the department. The volunteer firefighters and officers are only paid for calls they take.

Monteleone said during the Monday council meeting he will meet with the safety committee to determine the 10 to 12 people to be interviewed, and he hopes to have someone hired by the end of this month. The safety committee consists of council members Alan Cohen, Endia Wisser and Ellen Beagle, and it was Cohen who suggested during the meeting they be involved in the hiring process.

Monteleone had already expressed an interest in working with council to select the new chief, and welcomed their involvement.

Council then took care of another matter relating to the fire/EMS department, and that was to secure financing for the $109,000 2014 Super Warrior type III ambulance.

Council approved moving forward with a five-year loan through Huntington Bank that carries a 2.90 percent interest rate, the lowest rate of the four banks the village looked into. The others were PNC, Republic First National and First National Bank.

The diesel engine ambulance will replace the 1998 Marquee Ford diesel engine ambulance with more than 116,000 miles, worn suspension and unreliable transmission.

The village plans to cover a portion of the cost using levy funding.

According to the EMS department’s monthly activity report for July, 46 calls were received and the department responded to 41. There were five instances in which the department did not have an ambulance available.

The department also responded to 18 calls that resulted in no transport.

Meanwhile, the fire department responded to 28 calls, 11 of which were in the village. The remaining three were in Unity Township.

Of those calls the department had three false alarms, three carbon monoxide odor investigations, two traffic accidents, one burning complaint, one landing zone set up for STAT MedEvac, one electric wire down, one oven fire at Pizza Hut and one recreational vehicle fire.