Madison Township fire trucks damaged; news on natural gas aggregation contract

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

The beginning of the year brought a round of bad luck for the Madison Township Fire Department with a pair of accidents and mechanical issues disabling three fire engines, but the kindness of others helped keep firefighters on the road.

On Jan. 24 and again on Feb. 4, two different vehicles were damaged in separate incidents while on active emergency responses at no fault of township personnel. Engine 181 is out of service and not anticipated to return to the fleet for several months. The repair costs are estimated at more than $190,000 and the vehicle must be repaired out of state.

“The truck still sits at the station while we’re dealing with insurance,” said Madison Township Fire Chief Derek Robinson, who said a replacement engine costs $760,000. “They estimate six to seven months for the repair, including four months for sourcing and manufacturing parts. It does not take into account supply chain issues. Clinton Township provided us one of their reserve engines.”

Engine 182 was initially in-service after an accident, but unrelated mechanical issues took that vehicle out of service as well on March 16. The cost to repair that engine due to the accident, which are relatively cosmetic, is just over $25,000, takes two to three months, and can be done in-state.

“We’re utilizing a Franklin Township engine because of mechanical issues with engine 182,” said Robinson.

Adding insult to injury, Engine 183 was also taken out of service for mechanical issues and that station is using a loaner vehicle from the Columbus Fire Department. Robinson said if township residents see a vehicle from Clinton or Franklin Township and Columbus—other than mutual aid situations—be assured it is a township engine.

“The biggest takeaway from this is always go right for lights and sirens,” said Robinson. “If people aren’t moving to the right, we have to go to the left into oncoming traffic. People need to have self-awareness. We need people to yield to us and move out of the way.”

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety and state law, drivers must yield to the right for all moving public safety vehicles and to the left—when possible—for all stationary public safety vehicles.

The Move Over Law applies to vehicles with flashing lights of any color, including law enforcement officers, emergency responders, road construction, maintenance vehicles, utility crews and tow trucks. It applies to all roadways and highways in the state, and fines are doubled for failure to comply.

Natural gas aggregation contract
Utility bills are higher and higher and the Madison Township Trustees are hoping a new gas aggregation contract with Archer Energy can help ease the burden a little.

Archer representative Andy Mitrey said Trebel (the township’s aggregation manager) has followed the rates, which have gone up 150 percent from Feb. 2021 to Feb. 2022.

“The U.S. is energy dependent for natural gas,” said Mitrey, who said problems with a Ukraine pipeline, increased need for energy, geopolitics, weather and supplier risks are impacting prices.

“Natural gas volatility is unprecedently high,” said Mitrey. “That’s what we’re seeing right now. The market is volatile. We want to look for opportunities to lock in natural gas prices.”

While the contract with Archer Energy is effective April 1 through March 31, 2024, Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst said the first bill residents will see with the new supplier and rate is their June statement. There should be no interruption in service. Opt-out mailers will be sent in May. Eligible residents will be automatically enrolled in the program and should do nothing to get the savings.

Details of the agreement include budget billing, no fees to join later, no fees to leave early and the cost is based on the NYMEX index plus 2 percent discounted COH adder for one year. Residents and businesses are eligible to join the township aggregation agreement with Archer Energy LLC.

For information, contact Trebel, LLC at 1-877-861-2772 or email support@trebelllc.com.

Other township news
•The trustees accepted the retirement of full-time parks and recreation maintenance tech worker Wesley Welch. He retires on March 31 with 28 years of service with the township.

“I want to thank the trustees for this award,” said Welch. “It means a lot to me.”

•Firefighters Local 2507 is partnering with Fellowship Baptist Church, 4701 Winchester Pike, for the annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 9. The egg hunt starts at noon for children up to age 12. Registration is preferred and additional prize tickets will be given to those that pre-register. Local vendors, various activities, including inflatables are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Information regarding registration is available at https://fbccolumbus.churchcenter.com/calendar.

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