KEYSER, W.Va. — The vast majority of the 11 fire companies in Mineral County have come to an agreement on a final draft of a fire policy that addresses safety and had caused some contention between them, according to county Commissioner Dr. Richard Lechliter, who represents the commission at the Mineral County Firefighters Association.
The original policy, which required safety tests before county fire levy money could be obtained, was passed by a two-thirds vote of the association. The association voted to rescind its approval of the original policy and decided to redraft the policy to exclude the levy money requirement during its Nov. 13 meeting, according to Lechliter.
“I am pleased with the progress that the firefighters association has made and I feel like they have a good policy now for the citizens of Mineral County,” said Lechliter.
The county commissioners also voted to rescind their Aug. 28 decision to approve the policy during last week’s public meeting. Although the county commission approved the policy, it was not made effective because chairwoman Cindy Pyles didn’t sign off on it.
“The vote was taken but I didn’t sign out of concern — needing to hear all sides of the story,” said Pyles during a September commission meeting. “I’m really very hesitant to do it at all; it needs to go back and be revisited.”
The final draft allows the state fire marshal to address any safety issues, according to Lechliter. During the September commission meeting, fire department officials said they didn’t think the extra safety regulations were needed because testing regulations are already enforced by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
The final draft of the fire policy will be presented to the county commission as courtesy during the Dec. 11 public meeting and the association will likely approve the policy during its meeting Dec. 12, according to Lechliter.
The issue of the policy came about after Chad Lindsay, president of the association, discussed bringing in an outside company to do fire-hose testing, Chris Paitsel, Keyser fire chief, indicated at the September commission meeting.
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