Sun Prairie to disband volunteer fire department
SUN PRAIRIE - After more than 120 years in service, the Sun Prairie City Council has voted to disband their volunteer fire department, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The council plans to create a combined fire and EMS department, and that would mean no need for the volunteers. The plan is for the department to dissolve by Jan. 1, 2014.
According to Mayor John Murray, the decision is a safety issue, not a political one.
“This is no disrespect to the Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department,” Murray told the WSJ. “They are a lot of great men and women that have done a lot of good things for this community and I’m hugely respectful of that."
Mayor Murray explains that the volunteer fire department has an average response time of seven minutes, while the Emergency Medical Service run by the city has an average of two to three minutes.
“What the city wants is control,” Fire chief Tory Strauss told the newspaper. “That’s the No. 1 thing and whatever it costs them to do it, they will spend it.
“We’ve offered to make the changes they want in order to give them the same service that their own department would give. They do not want to negotiate with us. There has been no negotiating with us.”