Cleveland’s fire chief said Tuesday his department would repair broken equipment that left his firefighters without a way to refill their air tanks inside city limits.
The comments came after newsnet5.com’s Derick Waller learned the department’s five air compressors were not operational. Instead, first responders had been taking daily trips to Valley View’s fire department fill up a Cleveland air tanker.
The department’s roughly 750 firefighters use those tanks, part of an apparatus strapped to their backs, to breath clean air when battling structure fires.
The local firefighter union filed a grievance complaining about the issue several days ago.
“It’s kind of our life line. We need to have breathing air,” Association of Cleveland Firefighters President Tim Corcoran said. "We rely on our masks on a daily basis. We’re fighting fires every day. We need to have ample and quality supply of breathing air.”
Speaking exclusively to newsnet5.com on Tuesday, Fire Chief Angelo Calvillo confirmed the city’s compressors do not work. He blamed a taxed system, but said they’re working to make repairs.
“We’re looking in the next couple of days that we’re going to get a technician out there and take a look at that main compressor,” he said, referencing the unit located inside Station 28 at 310 Carnegie Avenue, a facility mainly used for storage and equipment repairs.
He said in the meantime, his department has a system of 11 back up compressors located at various fire stations, filled with air from the aforementioned tanker.
“It’s an issue,” Chief Calvillo said, “But it’s not a critical one.”
These concerns come as the city prepares to host tens of thousands of people for the Republican National Convention in July.
Corcoran said he has more basic concerns about daily operations, let alone planning for convention safety.
“I’m a little more concerned with our day-to-day operations,” Corcoran said, “As we speak today as opposed to fast-forwarding to the convention. We need to meet to needs of the department today.”
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