Fire Chief Ron Saferite told the City Council that Fort Payne is getting a rail car for his department’s regional fire training center so trainees can practice responding to hypothetical train derailments.
Saferite said Norfolk-Southern contacted him proposing to donate $15,000 toward the $12,000 purchase of a non-pressurized rail tanker car for the department’s regional firefighter training center to simulate a train derailment with leaking hazardous materials, plus gravel, from a contractor. The rail car will arrive in three to four weeks, delivered via an 18-wheel truck trailer, and remain overturned on one side.
“They visited to make sure the logistics would make that possible, and we got that squared away,” Saferite told the Council. “We’ve been trying to get one of those here my whole career, so it’s taken 31 years to get a rail car. There has to be a derailment within a certain distance for us to get one, which happened down below Birmingham. Once we get this one, it’s easier to get the second, pressurized one for practicing that sits upright on rails.”
“Ask [Norfolk-Southern] if they’ll donate a railroad overpass while they’re here,” Council member John Smith joked.
Saferite said the training center has a new group of firefighters from various cities, focusing this week on investigative techniques. He said his department needs another fire truck to replace one that is almost 20 years old. The purchase will give the City a few years before it will need to order again, with another ladder truck needed on the horizon.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Director Michael Evett told the Council his department had passed its yearly toxicity test thanks to properly doing the necessary lab work and they are in the process of replacing a pump that burned up during flooding earlier in the year. Additional upgrades are still in transit.
In other business,
• learned from Baine that there’s a revised timeline for demolition of the DeKalb General Hospital building starting the second week of November. The City wants to sell bricks from the site to use as a fundraising project.
• ended the mask mandate for council meetings.
• approved resolutions pertaining to an application for a grant to add a trail at the new soccer complex and dedicating Creekstone Point Drive NE as a public street.
• approved a street closure on 2nd Street SW on Oct. 31 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. so First Baptist Church can host a Trunk or Treat event.
• discussed redirecting $30,000 of $50,000 allocated in the airport’s budget to enclose hangars to instead repair five of the 11 airport hangars, starting with the large maintenance hangar. Council member Phillip Smith said a chemical compound will be sprayed on the roofs. They also discussed enclosing airplane hangars with a requirement for cost estimates and specifications from parties wanting to enclose hangars they lease.
• discussed renting a room at the Coal and Iron Building to Dave Latham of Grace Presbyterian Church for $630 per month plus the cost of utilities. They will approve an agreement at a future meeting.
• went into executive session to discuss a matter with a contractor.