City declares emergency to replace fire equipment

By Travis Gulbrandson

An emergency was declared to make it easier for the city to replace some fire department gear that was damaged in the fire at the Vermillion Landfill last month.

The action was taken by the Vermillion City Council during their regular meeting Nov. 19.

"In working the fire, the firefighters had oil that was floating on the water contaminate hoses, gloves, boots, bunker gear pants and some coats," said city finance officer Mike Carlson.

While the fire department's insurance company has reimbursed the costs of the hose and gloves, and acquired some coats, they still have 20 damaged pairs of pants.

"The insurance company has tried cleaning the pants and coats without any success," Carlson said. "There (are) concerns about how much cleaning you can do without damaging some of the fire-retardant characteristics of these materials, and if anybody would certify these after they've got them cleaned, that they would still be used."

If new pants were purchased, the jackets would have to be purchased, too.

"The company doesn't make individual replacements for them," Carlson said. "There (are) new models and such out, and so to be replaced, you would have to buy both the coat and the pants."

The state's emergency procurement statute – 5-18A-9 – will allow the city to make the purchase without advertising for two weeks for sealed bids, Carlson said.

"Once the council acts on the low bid, the vendor would come in and measure the firefighters to get this equipment ordered, so it would probably take a minimum of three weeks … to get that done," he said.

The city received two bids – from Heiman Fire Equipment for $36,296.80, and from Danko Emergency Equipment for $38,819.20.

The council members approved the bid from Heiman Fire Equipment.

At the same meeting, the council members also heard a proclamation of appreciation of area fire departments for responding to the fire at the Vermillion Landfill.

The fire departments of Wakonda, Gayville and Volin were thanked for their assistance to the Vermillion Volunteer Fire Department, and providing equipment and firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

"The City of Vermillion is thankful for the dedication, bravery and hard work demonstrated by the volunteer firefighters who responded to the fire," the proclamation read in part.

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