Thursday, March 29, 2001

Firetruck parking draws complaints

Non-emergency use of lanes reported

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It's OK for Cincinnati firefighters to drive firetrucks to the grocery store. Officials say they just shouldn't be parking in the fire lanes.

        A number of complaints from merchants has caused the public safety director to tell firefighters not to park directly in front of stores when making the station's daily food run.

        First of all, it's only for emergencies, Public Safety Director Kent Ryan said Wednesday. It also results in questions and complaints from people who want to know if something happened or why firefighters are allowed to park where anyone else would get a ticket.

        “It's poor practice to park in a fire lane,” Mr. Ryan said. “They should be parking away from the building.”

        Assistant Fire Chief Robert Kuhn agrees, and said a fire captain from Oakley was given a written reprimand last month for blocking the front of a Hyde Park store while shopping for food.

        “We get sporadic complaints. It won't happen for a while, then all of a sudden... ” he said. “We shouldn't be parking in the fire lane to get groceries. It's bad for business. We're in the customer service business.”

        Joe Diebold, vice president of the Cincinnati firefighters union, said he doesn't think parking in the fire lane is a widespread problem, but officers shouldn't do it.

        “Most people don't understand that we are there for 24 hours and that we have to cook our own food,” he said. “We're in (the store) with radios and it's part of our daily routine.”


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