The fire chief for the Village of Bremen faced questions on Thursday after a resident spotted a village fire truck being used to fix the roof at a private building he owned.
Resident Chuck Vickroy snapped pictures of the ladder truck being used to fix a hole in a roof ripped open by summer storms.
A picture captured the truck hoisting workers to the roof.
“The fire chief, he owns this building over there,” Vickroy said. “(It’s) a flat misuse of taxpayer money.”
Vickroy said that Chief Joseph L. Westenbarger dispatched the fire truck to his own building.
The Columbus Division of Fire has a strict policy against using fire equipment for personal reasons, but Westenbarger said that was not the case in Bremen.
“The trustees said it was OK for volunteers, people on the fire department to borrow equipment for personal use,” Westenbarger said.
Westenbarger said that the trustees never put that decision in writing and that the rule came down a long time ago.
“I can’t tell you for sure, but it was probably back in the 70s,” Westenbarger said.
According to Westenbarger, he is not the only one in town that his fire department has helped.
“During the four days of the storm, we took care of plenty of people,” Westenbarger said. “We hauled plenty of water to farmers that didn’t have water.”
Vickroy said that the pictures he took of the chief repairing his roof not only represented misuse but also danger.
The man lifted onto the roof was not a firefighter, and Vickroy said that he saw cars driving underneath the ladder during the few ladder during the hours it was there.
Westenbarger said that the truck had flashers on as a warning while it was at his property.
Vickroy said that he filed a formal complaint with the village.
“Something should be done to him,” Vickroy said. “That he doesn’t say (anything) was done, I’m going to do it again.”
The Ohio Ethics Commission told Watchdog 10 that what occurred in Bremen is not the way things are supposed to be done.
A trustee for the Village of Bremen said that the board planned to consider the issue and whether they need to take action.
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