Murray/Calloway County extrication deal ends

Angry words were spoken at last night’s Murray City Council meeting. The dispute was between Mayor Jack Rose and former Fire Chief and Council Member Pat Scott. 

“I’m not going to dispute your figures, but it’s going to cost someone’s life,” Scott said.

Rose announced a deal between the Murray City Fire Department and Calloway County Fire Rescue is over.

The deal has the county paying the city $10,000 in exchange for help with extrications — when someone needs to be freed from a wrecked car — in the county. The funding outlined by the city can be found here.

The city says it costs $70,000 to $75,000 a year to keep up and continue running the extrication truck, but many are concerned about the change.

When it comes to extrications in the county, Rose said it’s about the numbers and believes the change will be better for everyone.  Rescue 1, or R1, is the only vehicle in the city that makes runs in the county, but now the city says it’s too expensive to run.

Rose said it’s now time to recognize the Calloway County Fire Rescue as a strong asset. 

“If you have the kind of training you need to extricate folks, does it matter if you’re in the Murray department or Calloway County?” Rose asked.

But the county is still disappointed to have lost the relationship with the city. Calloway County Emergency Management Director Bill Call said the 90-plus people at the county fire department don’t have the training or the resources they need they need to make extrications. 

“Any time you make a change, you’re concerned how that will work out. And it could go either way,” Call said.

Call said with extra training he hopes the county fire department will be able to reduce response time. But he said it has no option but to adjust, 

“The county fire department can’t do a good job unless they have the equipment and the training, so that’s one of the key things that has to take place,” Call said.

But as for whether the change will cost lives, the mayor said he wouldn’t consider this change if that were the case, 

“I don’t like to create change just for change’s sake; I believe in changing when the issues and information available dictate that is the thing to do,” Rose said.

County Judge Executive Larry Elkins said he regrets the city’s choice, but public safety is his primary concern. The mayor said this will be a transition period, and by July 1 the county should have enough time to train and get the supplies it needs. But, if after that point the county needs any help in a big event, he said there will be nothing to keep the city from helping.

County leaders have to have time to discuss what they want to do now after last nights meeting, so potentially renegotiating an agreement remains to be seen.

Canceling the partnership will not cost any jobs in the county or city fire departments.

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