Craig Beach, Milton Township at odds over fire service

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Two homes went up in flames Tuesday morning in Craig Beach Village, but fire trucks just a half a mile away didn’t and couldn’t respond.

On Tuesday evening, residents and village  council voiced their concerns about the situation. Craig Beach Volunteer Fire Department is a registered non-profit, meaning they cannot legally respond to a fire without a contract with the community or without being called in for mutual aid.

They also aren’t recognized as a fire department by the State of Ohio. Milton Township Fire Chief Harold Maynard said that’s the reason they won’t consider them for mutual aid.

“Until there is documentation available to say they are, we’re not going to use their resources,” Maynard said. “If they can prove that documentation,¬† I’m sure we can sit down and have that conversation and see their availability and what they have to offer us.”

But Craig Beach Fire Chief Sherman Yeager said they are registered, and claims they’ve been called for mutual aid by surrounding departments as recently as a few months ago.

“We are, they recognize us as firefighters because we have our cards and everything else and our medical cards,” Yeager said.

Yeager said he plans to contact the state fire marshal to find out what the issue is. The Milton Township Fire Department is contracted to provide service to Craig Beach Village until 2015.

Craig Beach Village pulled its contract with the Craig Beach Fire Department in 2007, citing improper reporting or no reporting of financial numbers. The village could re-enter into a contract with the Craig Beach Volunteer Fire Department, but wants the department to hand over operations so it can become a public entity.

“They’re not willing to give up ownership of the equipment and we do not trust them to give us adequate financial information,” said Village Solicitor Gary Van Brocklin.

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