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County must focus on its own fire rescue

Letters to the Editor
Published July 5, 2005

Re: We can have more affordable fire service, June 28, letter to the editor:

In response to J.A. Waller's letter, I would first like to say you get what you pay for. The quality of fire and rescue coverage that we have in Spring Hill is superior to that of surrounding communities. My family and I are aware, by experience, what care is given. Response is quick and of a high quality, with quality equipment, and highly qualified firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

Waller mentioned mixing volunteer and paid firefighters together. A "volunteer" is a person who chooses to freely offer to do something. This also means he or she can freely not do something. Although I find paid firefighters understanding, there is always that feeling that they are better able to handle situations. The mixture would only cause confusion. It has not been shown to be a good thing in the past.

Liability also should be considered. If a volunteer chooses not to show up for a shift, it would cause much confusion in getting a replacement and would leave that company shorthanded for 24 hours.

I don't know what Waller based her estimate on regarding the same protection in Spring Hill as Hernando County, but it would be interesting to find out. A merger of Spring Hill Fire and Rescue and Hernando Fire and Rescue certainly would not work out; it would only decrease the quality of coverage in Spring Hill. If Hernando County is disturbed by the fact that their firefighters get paid less, simply raise their salaries. It's your tax money and you control it.

As for the Emergency Operations Center, if we are paying for it, let's use it.

I don't understand the statement about the ladder truck. The primary purposes of a ladder company are rescue, ventilation and overhaul. Another letter writer mentioned mutual aid. Time is of the essence when it comes to rescue. A ladder truck from Port Richey or Brooksville takes time. The training of operators is no more complicated than that of an engineer.

I was a driver, ladder and articulating boom instructor for many years. But I would say that at this time a 100-foot ladder is not needed, but an 85-foot ladder would be sufficient, but that is only my opinion. Due to the buildings that are in Spring Hill, including the Wal-Mart Supercenters, Home Depot, Lowe's and many others to come in the future, fighting a fire from above is very important and would require more than one ladder truck.

I served as a volunteer for almost 20 years and as a firefighter, lieutenant, and captain in one of the best and largest ladder companies on Long Island. Again, I say the merging of these two departments would accomplish nothing good, and control by our county commissioners would be a disaster.

As a resident of Spring Hill, I am very disturbed by the actions of our county commissioners, as are so many others I have talked to about their handling of this situation. I am sure it will show in future elections, if not handled properly. Maybe the county should focus on perfecting its Hernando County fire-rescue department before taking on a well-organized, well-running and self-sufficient department such as the one in Spring Hill. I'm sure there are more than enough problems to work on.

-- Bob Ahrens, Spring Hill

Address conditions on both sides of wall

On June 24 I picked up three large bags of trash that had been dumped by the Timber Pines wall adjacent to Trenton Avenue. Afterward, my neighbors and I started discussing the deplorable conditions of this area along the Timber Pines wall.

Timber Pines is a walled community in Spring Hill. My neighbors and I decided I would make a friendly call to Timber Pines and request that they clean up and maintain this area. After three calls (over a six-hour period) to Lynn Setelius, general manager of Timber Pines, and receiving no call back, we knew we had to take a different approach to get this issue resolved.

The weeds along the Timber Pines wall on Trenton Avenue have not been cut this year, and the tree branches overhanging the sidewalk (from the trees inside the wall) have not been trimmed in years.

Also, the sidewalk along the wall has collapsed, causing debris and trash to collect in one spot causing walking to be a hazard in the area. This neglect leads to litter being thrown on this side of Trenton Avenue.

Winn-Dixie mows its area across the street on a regular schedule, and there is very little litter problem. Timber Pines has not cut the area between the sidewalk and the road, making what the neighbors call Litter Alley. This condition is insulting to the people who must use this sidewalk to do their shopping.

As a former resident of Timber Pines, I know how well they maintain the property inside the walls.

Their sidewalks do not have any overhanging branches or unmarked cracks; there is no trash to be seen along the sides of the roads or sidewalks, and the sidewalks were even scrubbed clean with a machine.

The concerned residents of this area just outside the walls of Timber Pines hope this letter will generate some community pride within the walls of Timber Pines and communicate to them how deplorable this area outside their wall has become.

-- Harry R. McFarland, Spring Hill

[Last modified July 5, 2005, 01:33:21]

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