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Union leader talks future of Fulton Fire Dept.

“Our department right now is hemorrhaging and if we don’t do something, we’re going to bleed out,” said Fulton firefighter and Union leader Todd Gray.

Gray said public safety is at risk if the city council doesn’t re-consider a higher wage for firefighters.

The council is set to meet Tuesday night at 6:30.

Last month, the council voted to increase starting pay from $8.65 and hour to $9.50 an hour and $10 dollars an hour after the first six months.

But some leaders said that is not enough to keep the department afloat.

“We do have some trucks that are out of service quite frequently,” Gray said. “The average age of our equipment is 22 years old.”

Gray said the department if facing other challenges besides just equipment.

“We have another member of our department that’s leaving at the end of this week, I believe,” he said. “Fifty percent of our department has left and moved on to other jobs or other departments in the last three years. Twenty-five percent of our department in this year alone.”

Although the council bumped up the starting pay last month, Gray said it’s going to take more than that.

“We have a ladder truck that’s out of service right now,” he said. “If we had an incident where we needed a ladder truck, we’d have to call for a volunteer department to respond.”

“So when you’re dealing with volunteer departments, they’re at home or they’re at work so you have to wait for them to arrive at the station, get it, then arrive on scene and set it up,” Gray said. “So it’s valuable seconds that we’re losing because we have a ladder truck that’s out of service.”

Gray said Tuesday night’s goal is to help the council better understand the current situation.

“I just want to educate the council,” he said. “I just feel like they’re not being told the full truth, the whole story.”

Gray said he met with the Fulton mayor recently and was told the negotiations were over.

But Gray said he hopes they will re-consider.

The community is organizing another rally under the Fulton City Hall clock at 6 p.m. Tuesday, just before the council meeting.

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