PETERSBURG, Va. – Petersburg city officials say the Fire Department is working towards new vehicles and equipment as they navigate the city’s financial issues.
This comes after a retired Petersburg firefighter told CBS 6 Monday the city’s lack of equipment and resources could put the public’s safety at risk.
Among the city’s issues are deteriorating fire trucks, only two fire department ambulances (which are currently out of commission) and air packs that need to be replaced because they’re reaching their full lifespan of 12 to 18 years.
Retired Petersburg firefighter Gene Beemer told CBS 6 some of the equipment being used by the department is over 30 years old.
“It breaks my heart,” he said Monday.
Interim Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant says public safety is the department’s first priority and they are working to fix the current issues.
“It has taken the City of Petersburg years of neglect to get where we are today and my job is to restore our services and our equipment as quickly as possible,” said Sturdivant.
Sturdivant said the city currently has mutual aid agreements in place with all the surrounding counties to provided additional resources when needed.
“When we need equipment from our neighboring fire departments, that equipment is available,” he said. “We have a great team in place, and we are making progress.”
Interim City Manager Tom Tyrrell added, “It is a priority to get our first responders the tools they need to do their job to provide public safety. This is our number one priority.”