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Rules for water rescues by WFD discussed

June 19, 2013
By DAVE O’CONNOR - CORRESPONDENT ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

WESTFIELD - Water rescues on Lake Erie will be based on the best judgment of Westfield firemen who man the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department's boat on a particular call.

Practically, that means the rescue craft can venture beyond the break walls at the Dan Reid Pier in Barcelona.

Fire Commissioner Scott Mason motioned to limit rescues by the village's fire department to water inside the harbor, but the motion failed for lack of a second at the Village of Westfield Board of Fire Commissioner's meeting on Tuesday, June 4.

Commissioner Dave Spann asked Assistant Chief Dave Davies how long the department has sometimes ventured outside the harbor and was told "about 15 years."

Fireman Lyle Holland asked if anyone was willing, "to watch a child drown" if rescues were limited to the harbor.

Firemen Ed Kneer agreed the department's 22 foot boat has limitations, but argued that with discretion it can save lives farther out on the lake.

"We want to be certain the crew is properly trained," Mason said.

After Mason's motion failed, Commission Chairman Barry Underwood suggested the topic be, "tabled for future business."

In other business, the commission decided to reverse a May decision to write a fundraising letter for the fire department after learning department members had voted not to compose such a letter.

"We're not throwing the fund drive letter out the window," Underwood said.

Rather, the idea is "on hold" until July at the earliest.

Underwood also talked about what he called a "lack of response" to two recent calls, one in the Town of Portland and the other a gas explosion and resulting fire on McKinley Avenue in the Town of Westfield.

"We need somehow to get more members responding," he said.



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