Firefighters have safety concerns about East End bridge and tunn - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Firefighters have safety concerns about East End bridge and tunnels

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Firefighters are trained to handle almost anything. But if disaster strikes in the tunnel to the East End bridge, rescue crews say they won't be ready.

In an exclusive story, WDRB News uncovered some of the safety concerns from Harrods Creek Fire officials.

When emergency responders met with the construction company on Thursday, it immediately became clear that they have not been trained to operate the complex system inside the tunnel connected to the bridge.

"It's a big problem," said Harrods Crees Chief Kevin Tyler.

Chief Tyler said he discovered the big problem during a meeting about the East End tunnels this week.

"We were talking about the scenarios, and I was sitting there, and I was like, 'this is not really what we need right now."

Chief Tyler said there were several organizations at the table, but something was missing. That's when he pointed out his concerns about the lack of training his department has received.

"We don't really need to be doing a tabletop exercise on emergency response when we have some complicated systems that are about to go ... that are actually being installed into the tunnel," Chief Tyler said.

For the first time, we are hearing a completion date. Chief Tyler said crews have circled Dec.17 on the calendar.

"If December 17th is the date that we have, then we are not ready on the response side," he said. "And not just Harrods Creek."

"It's Worthington Fire, it's TRIMARC, it's the health department, MSD, I mean, it's everybody that is involved with this project," said Steve Hanson, Harrods Creek Fire Marshal.

The fire marshal said firefighters need to be trained on the operating system inside the tunnels.

"In our business, training is everything."

A spokesperson from Walsh Construction said there will be training in the near future, but Chief Tyler and Hanson said the system is complicated and will take time to learn.

"We need as much time as we can to play with it and to get as many people up to speed as possible before this project opens," Hanson said.

All of the parties involved are scheduled to have another meeting on Thursday. This time, the focus moves to the bridge portion of the project.

Related Stories:

Harrods Creek first responders say they lack manpower to handle serious crashes on East End bridge

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