Pickaway News Journal

Thu, Jun 22, 2017

Chief works to re-staff city fire department

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Firefighter Michael Miller cuts into a wrecked vehicle during rescue training at the Circleville Fire Department last week. (Photos by Trish Bennett)
Firefighters practice stabilizing a vehicle during training last week.
Cory Kerns (left) helps train Danny Puckett and Michael Miller during exercises last week at the Circleville Fire Department.
Danny Puckett and Michael Miller stabilize a vehicle during training exercises.

CIRCLEVILLE - The city's newly-restored fire chief is working to beef up staffing at the Circleville Fire Department that is down about nine people due to recent retirements, medical leave and resignations.

Chief Marc Zingarelli said the department that usually operates with seven people per shift is down to about four people per shift in recent months.

In addition to the chief, the Circleville Fire Department has three captains, three lieutenants and a crew of full-time and part-time firefighters/EMTs.

With the pending retirement of a captain currently on medical leave, one lieutenant will be bumped up in rank, leaving an open lieutenant's position that will need to be filled.

Zingarelli said he will be meeting with the city's Civil Service Commission to request additional names of candidates to fill open positions at the station. If he is unable to get additional names, the Civil Service test will have to be given again at additional time and expense.

Zingarelli, who just returned from paid administrative leave Aug. 14, said he has not yet had time to delve into the department's budget, but he knows the staffing issues have created a significant amount of overtime for existing employees who have been working an average of 36-hour shifts to cover the load.

"All that overtime is expensive, and working that many hours at a time just wears people down," Zingarelli said. "Hopefully we can get some new people on board quickly."

He said he hopes to have additional candidate names available after the Civil Service Commission meets Tuesday evening.

"We already have part-time applicants going through the hiring process, and we've advertised for another part-time hiring," Zingarelli said. "Hopefully we can at least get our part-timers up to strength."

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