Editorial: Follies at the Firehouse

Cleveland, OH - Last week we aired an editorial about the strange practice of the Cleveland Fire Department responding to fender bender accidents in expensive hook and ladder trucks and then mailing big bills to the owner's insurance companies. Well, now the Cleveland Plain Dealer has followed that story with yet another report detailing yet another bit of tom foolery by the fire department which is also costing taxpayer's money.

It turns out, according to the PD, that the city fire department routinely responds with trucks and four man crews to help citizens who have locked their keys in their cars or in their homes. More than 1,600 times last year they did it and half the time they sent ladder trucks at a cost of $135 an hour - all that effort and expense to unlock somebody's car.

Fire departments at other Ohio cities say they don't do that unless somebody's life is in danger but here Fire Chief Paul Stubbs defends the practice. He says, "Whatever call for help we get, it doesn't bother me that we're going to help." Well, it ought to bother him and it ought to bother the Cleveland City Council which should be protecting its citizens from a fire department that obviously isn't alarmed about the money it spends.