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Former fire chief encourages Council to be proactive

Former City of Sunnyside Fire Chief Jim Stanton stood before the Sunnyside City Council Monday night encouraging the governing body to take a proactive approach when it comes to the safety of those in the community.

Stanton said last week's TV Towne fire on Yakima Valley Highway made him think about a few things. Stanton said the fire, which completely destroyed the recently remodeled store, resulted in the local fire department having to rely on a considerable amount of mutual aid from other communities to fight the fire. The Prosser and Toppenish fire departments assisted with the blaze by bringing their ladder trucks.

"It (mutual aid) is not really designed to provide the equipment the city won't buy," said Stanton. "I think it is appalling we have to go to smaller communities (for help)."

Stanton encouraged Council to look at purchasing a ladder truck and addressing the need for a new fire department building.

Stanton also wanted the city to press forward with making public and addressing the results of a feasibility study for the fire department that was done a few years ago. Stanton said the information in the feasibility study was very useful and he would like to see the city build on what was done.

Mayor Ed Prilucik agreed with Stanton about the feasibility study, saying that there was quite a bit of information about the fire department the city should be examining. Prilucik, with the backing of Council, requested staff bring back the findings of the feasibility study for discussions at a future Council meeting.

As far as the city's need to purchase a ladder truck, Prilucik reminded Stanton that the fire department building is very old, having been built in 1962. The mayor said the last apparatus the city purchased had to be built specifically to fit inside the fire station. Prilucik, though, said the Council does need to discuss further the recommendations of Stanton.

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