North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

December 4, 2012

Warrior council to look into fire department incident that left medical call unanswered

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

WARRIOR — An incident which left the Warrior Fire Department unmanned during a call in neighboring Blount County — during which they were not available to respond to a medical emergency in Warrior — will be investigated by the city council.

Mayor Johnny Ragland scheduled a work session for the council, during which the new committee chairs will meet with the supervisors of the departments under those committees.

Of particular interest is the fire committee, chaired by Jackie Wesson. She cited the incident during Monday night’s regular council session, where the department apparently responded to a call by the West Blount Fire Department, even though there was not a request for mutual aid.

Neither Wesson nor Ragland are sure why the department responded without a mutual-aid call, and additionally why all firefighters on duty responded, leaving no one at the station for local calls.

Fire Chief Clay Neely was on vacation at the time, and remains so through this week.

Wesson has a personal link to the incident; her father, Bill Hudson — husband of former mayor Rena Hudson — was the subject of the medical call. Warrior Police were able to help Hudson instead.

“We need to know why we responded to West Blount when there was no mutual-aid request,” Wesson said.

Ragland said the policies need to be established to determine proper response on mutual-aid requests, as well as calls where mutual aid is not requested, so that the station isn’t left unmanned for local calls.

The work session is set for Monday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, and will involve issues other than the fire department.

In other business, the council voted to change the building inspector’s position from part-time to contract, which would be paid only when used for an inspection call. The inspector would be paid $20 per call. Applications for the position will be accepted through Dec. 14, and the council will consider the applicants at their meeting the following Monday.