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Fire department vet weighs in on vehicle repairs controversy

By Staff | Apr 30, 2011

A retired, 26-year veteran of the Cape Coral fire department maintains the fire equipment is safe and recent reports otherwise are being blow out of proportion.
Jeff Muchmore, who worked as a volunteer, a firefighter, engineer, logistics officer and line lieutenant during his tenure with the fire department, plans to bring his concerns to city council on Monday night during public comment.
Muchmore said during his time as a logistics officer he dealt specifically with the equipment that recently was inspected and repaired by Lee County.
He said some are making the city’s fleet maintenance personnel out to be incompetent, when instead, the repairs simply are a matter of normal wear and tear on vehicles that are heavily used.
He said mechanics in the city’s fleet maintenance had some of the Emergency Vehicle Technician certifications identified by City Manager Gary King as a need, but were unable to complete their training because the city was unable to pay for it.
He said the mechanics are being made into villains.
“It’s a witch hunt,” Muchmore said. “They’re smearing these guys. These guys did get some of these classes but it’s not their fault they didn’t get all of the certifications.”
Muchmore said there are some items that even Lee County Fleet Maintenance can’t fix, and they farm those services out to private companies.
Lee County then becomes a middle man the city has to pay, Muchmore said, though he did not know if the vehicles serviced by the county had any of the components worked on by outside companies.
Muchmore said preventative maintenance for the all fire vehicles is on a six- month, 6,000 mile cycle.
He said fire vehicles in all municipalities have wear and tear, and that Cape Coral is no different. The citizens of Cape Coral should feel confidant about their fire department, he added.
“I know that apparatus better than anybody … this is just making us look bad,” he said.