KEYSER - The Keyser Volunteer Fire Department is seeking assistance from the City of Keyser in acquiring some safety lights for the company's ladder truck.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Keyser Volunteer Fire Department is seeking assistance from the City of Keyser in acquiring some safety lights for the company’s ladder truck.
The council members, however, didn’t seem so sure that they should spend money on lights when they’re looking at the probable replacement of an engine in the near future.
Fire chief Bret Biddle told the council members this week that the firefighters use floodlights to try to illuminate the end of the ladder when it’s in use, but “it is very dark” up there when fighting a fire.
He estimated the cost for installing LED lights at $5,400.
“But here’s the bad news,” he said, noting that a generator on the truck has gone down and will cost approximately $15,000 to replace.
Given the choice, however, Biddle said the members of the company would prefer installing the lights, “because it’s a safety issue.”
Council member Eric Murphy said he felt the city should “go ahead and get the lights” for the company, but Karol Ashenfelter wasn’t so sure.
“We’re going to have to buy a new truck in the next three to four years,” she said.
“Here’s my issue … why can’t you guys raise the money for that kind of thing?” she asked Biddle, referring to the lights.
At one point she referred to the lights as “cosmetic,” to which Biddle took exception.
“It’s not cosmetic. It’s for safety,” he said.
When council member Terry Liller commented that he was “surprised they don’t require those lights” on ladder trucks, Biddle told him they are now required on newer trucks. The company’s current ladder truck was manufactured before the regulation was put into place.
With city administrator Randy Amtower absent from Wednesday’s meeting, Liller suggested setting up a meeting to include Amtower and representatives of the fire company so they could discuss the costs and whether the money is available in the city’s budget.
“Nobody knows the budget like Randy does,” he said.
Biddle agreed to the meeting, saying he would make sure the company’s treasurer and chief engineer are present.