59° F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy

Sun Prairie officials, firefighters clash over full time operation

Published On: May 30 2013 09:06:10 PM CDT   Updated On: May 30 2013 09:18:03 PM CDT
sun prairie volunteer fire department

Sun Prairie mayor John Murray met with town chairs and the volunteer fire department met Wednesday to discuss moving to full-time operation, despite a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that has not been secured.

The city cut off contract negotiations with the group a month ago. They recently announced plans to transition from volunteer staff to a full-time paid fire and emergency service integrated model.

Murray said the city has grown and needs to change fire department operations with or without the grant.

"I believe this city is committed to a transition to that integrated type of model whether we get the grant or not," said Murray. "We're a community of 30,000 people. We're not the community of 4,000 people that we were 20 some years ago." 

He added with a higher population, the service level and expectations of public safety have risen in Sun Prairie in recent years.

The contract between the city and volunteer firefighters comes to an end January 1, 2014. Current volunteer firefighters like Volunteer Chief Tory Strauss said they have a lot of concerns.

For video on this story, visit the video section.

Strauss said they are concerned about splitting up groups and the response from the city and townships when it comes to improving the quality of service.

"Our level of training is probably already above and beyond what will be required," Strauss said. 'I would say our firefighters here are trained to a higher standard than a lot of full-time departments just because there's a lot more pride in it's not just a job."

But the town of Sun Prairie Chair, Lyle Updike said the lack of details puts outlying communities in a tight spot.

"We already have a contract and an equity interest with the Marshall-area EMS district. So we have a long term commitment for EMS services from another provider," Updike said.

If Sun Prairie goes to an integrated model, townships would be able to buy into the service, but would have to purchase both EMS and fire services together.

  • Nepal earthquake aftermath

    Omar Havana/Getty Images

    Nepal earthquake: Aftershocks, aftermath

    A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu mid-day on Saturday. Many houses, buildings and temples in the capital were destroyed, leaving thousands dead or trapped under the debris as emergency rescue workers attempt to clear rubble and find survivors.

  • Baltimore police protests 8

    Alex Wong/Getty Images

    Violence, arrests at Baltimore police protest

    A peaceful demonstration in Baltimore on Saturday came to an end when police in riot gear tried to hold a line, and a few protesters vandalized police cars, threw objects at officers, cursed at them and scuffled with them.

  • PHOTOS: Viewers drop off sensitive documents for Shredfest

    The WISC-TV studio parking lot was busy with hundreds of viewers bringing their sensitive documents to be destroyed as part of Shredfest with the Better Business Bureau Saturday morning.

    A combined 1,295 cars dropped off bags of papers at WISC-TV on Raymond Road and SVA Certified Public Accountants firm on John Q. Hammons Drive.

    News 3 and Better Business Bureau team members unloaded bags of documents from viewers' cars and Pellitteri Waste Systems' Data Destruction team put the papers into the shredding trucks.