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Menomonee Falls Fire Department already dealing with equipment issues now facing staffing shortages

Posted: 10:00 PM, Jun 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-11 23:24:54-04
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Menomonee Falls fire station
empty menomonee falls fire

MENOMONEE FALLS — For two days last week, Menomonee Falls had almost no equipment to fight a fire. There were no fire engines Tuesday, and by Wednesday night, only part of a ladder truck was working. But Assistant Chief James Mollet said that is not even the worst part.

“The fact we are up here talking tonight because of vehicles being broken or out of service, to me, that’s the bright side,” said Mollet. “Our fear is that we are going to be up here talking about this because someone got hurt or killed.”

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Inside a nearly empty Menomonee Falls fire station during equipment shortage on June 5, 2019

Worse yet, Menomonee Falls village trustees said they had no idea this was happening.

“How does it get to the point where it gets to Facebook to bring this to the attention of us rather than other channels?” asked Trustee Jeremy Walz.

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Full house at special meeting concerning Menomonee Falls fire equipment

The assistant chief said long-term concerns are brought forward, but without a fire chief heading up the Menomonee Falls Fire Department, little action was taken. Mollet said they already know they will be short-staffed this summer, and it has been brought to village leaders including Police Chief Anna Ruzinski, who acts as the head of the fire department. So far, no changes have been made.

“To speak in terms of whether there is a crisis right now, I would argue to say there is,” said Mollet.

Fire leaders got emotional as they told trustees they have been told not to come to the village leaders with equipment and staffing problems that concern the Menomonee Falls Fire Department.

“Do you feel the village needs a chief of fire again?” asked Trustee Steve Taggart.

The answer came from the full meeting cheering that question.