Springhill Fire Department Still Going Strong
Former Chief Sentenced To Three Years
Firefighters in Springhill are now equipped with new bunker gear. Chief Billy Rasberry says the gear has been badly needed for several years.
"NFPA usually likes to say every five years you're to replace it and we have since replaced stuff that was roughly twelve to thirteen years old," said Chief Rasberry.
Rasberry says the the fire department is also equipped with new fire hoses and a new pumper truck will be delivered by the first of next year. Rasberry says the department was able to buy the equipment and save money at the same time.
"We are completely debt free," said Rasberry.
That wasn't the case when Rasberry took over as chief back in March. He says former chief David Camp, who pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of an access card, left the department devastated.
"It was in debt because of that and it was also in debt due to a low budget that could not support a full-time employee that was making a substantial amount of money," said Rasberry.
Camp was sentenced to three years in the parish jail Tuesday. He will only spend six months behind bars. Once he's released, he will be on supervised probation for three years. Prosecutors say restitution has already been paid.
Chief Rasberry says he and firefighters have turned the department around, they could still use more money.
He's hoping citizens will pass a millage tax December 8th. Rasberry says the tax would generate $115,000 a year for the department.
Rasberry says the money will double the department's income, help improve the fire rating and allow firefighters to provide more services like EMS.
The chief says he is concerned, given what happened with the former chief, citizens will be hesitant to give more money to the fire department.
"I'm hoping the public will see there's a new leader and the new leader is serious about making the fire department right," said Rasberry.