SE Bullitt and Shepherdsville Fire Depts. restore mutual aid for first time since '99
SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Better fire protection is the goal for the Shepherdsville and SE Bullitt Fire Departments after a new agreement.
Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Julius Hatfield said, "I'm speaking English. No, we don't do mutual aid with Shepherdsville."
Those were Hatfield's words back in November explaining that his department lost some of its territory over annexation.
Hatfield resigned Feb. 1 and he is still under investigation for alleged insurance fraud and other charges.
Shepherdsville Fire said it used to offer mutual aid, but there hasn't been an agreement between the two departments since 1999.
Layne Troutman, the Shepherdsville Fire Chief said, "It's frustrating sometimes that you are right down the street and you can help them out and you know they are not going to call you. In the past, there have been even police involved to turn us away."
Erik Butler, the Acting SE Bullitt Fire Chief, says restoring mutual aid between the department is something firefighters wanted. Butler said, "Overjoyed you know, we need to get back to doing what we are here to do in the first place, helping the community."
Butler is expected to be named Chief officially at the Department's Board meeting next Tuesday. Shepherdsville Fire covers about 14 square miles and around 12,000 residents. Southeast Bullitt covers 90 square miles and up to 12,500 residents.
Troutman said, "It means a quicker response to them, more help in responding to the scene. It's better all the way around. It can even affect insurance rates to lower them also."
The two departments are still working out an automatic mutual aid agreement.
Right now, Butler said the department is trying to get the public's trust back. So, he will resign from the Fire Department Board.
Butler said, "I just don't think it looks good me being the Chief and on the board. I mean there is no law against it. In my heart, I don't think it's right. It looks funny."
Butler said morale has improved and plans are in the works to hire more firefighters. He said, "We're working on the budget right now, maybe three or four if we can afford it. The public, they are wanting a firehouse on Clarks Lane and 480."
Butler would also like to have an open house, a family event where people get to see the department and get to know the firefighters. Butler said he has no secrets and wants the department to be transparent in its finances.
Since the mutual aid agreement is just verbal right now, it still needs to be put on paper. That's expected to happen within a month.
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