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Staffing issues continue at Hales Corners Fire Department

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 19:13:44-05

HALES CORNERS — TODAY'S TMJ4 has learned the Hales Corners Fire Department didn't have a single firefighter on duty Wednesday who could operate a fire truck.

We were the first to tell you about the department's low wages of $11.25 an hour for part-timers and how they only had one firefighter on-duty on Labor Day. Now, the village is owning their latest mistake.

The Hales Corners Fire Chief said a scheduling error is to blame for leaving only three part-time firefighters on duty Wednesday who weren't able to properly respond to a car fire.

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, a car caught fire in the middle of an intersection on Highway 100 in Hales Corners. Given Hales Corners Fire Department's alleged scheduling error, they called on Greendale to pick up their slack.

Hales Corners firefighters arrived with just their ambulance while they waited for Greendale crews to put out the flames.

"I would think that would be a big mistake on their part, not having anyone that can operate something that's that important to this community," said Kristen Kastner. "That's a longer response time, that's concerning."

Residents hearing about it Thursday like Kastner and Arline Mack believe public safety could have been put in danger in their village of 8,000.

"My goodness, if that was a huge fire people could have gotten killed, they could have died and where were they?" questioned Mack.

Greendale Fire Chief Tim Saidler said the two villages have a mutual aid agreement.

"We respond with whatever equipment's requested by us," Saidler said. "I do not know the circumstances of their staffing or the reasons for a request that they had."

Hales Corners Village President Dan Besson couldn't talk on camera Thursday, but admits, he's frustrated by the latest issue. The village took care of previous problems TODAY'S TMJ4 uncovered such as low part-time firefighter pay and only having one firefighter on staff during a holiday. Now, they have a new problem on their hands.

"This is not what we expect of our firefighters or from this city," Mack said.

"I'm thinking something needs to be done," added Kastner. "It's concerning, we all should stand up and see that something's done."

Besson said he brought this issue to the Fire and Police Commission and told TODAY'S TMJ4 it will be dealt with.