Johnston City Fire Department holds fundraiser to buy new equipment

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

JOHNSTON CITY, IL (KFVS) - The Heartland's tough economic environment has one fire department asking the public for help.  Preparations are underway for a fundraiser in Johnston City.  However, this event is being planned not long after the fire department failed an audit.

"Questionable judgment calls were made, which could have been better managed," said Johnston City Public Safety Director Ray Mileur.

Mileur said he discovered there was a lack of oversight in how city funds were spent, particularly in the fire and police departments, back in November.  While the police department passed an audit, the fire department did not.  Mileur said part of the problem involved funds from the volunteer fire department chili supper.

"The chili fund money was used to buy equipment you know radios, pagers, and other things and some of the question is on how the money was spent, in terms of food for firefighters at meetings and things like that," Mileur said.

Just forward to present day.  Mileur said new policies and procedures are now in place, so people know where funds raised will be spent.

"Right now the city just doesn't have the money to be able to afford a new ambulance for us.  So we've taken it into our own hands and we're doing fundraiser," Johnston City Firefighter Matthew Davis said.

Davis said volunteer fire department is hosting a "Break-fest" this weekend.  He said the money be used to buy a new ambulance, since the current truck is broken down and has been for several months.

"With this big engine behind me here, the response times are a little bit slower," Davis said.  "The streets are narrow, we use a lot more fuel in this big truck, than what we would in an ambulance."

Meanwhile, the Johnston City Fire Department has an operations chief but not a proper fire chief. Mileur said as the Director of Public Safety, who oversees the police and fire departments, the city now saves about $60,000.

The ambulance and equipment fundraiser is this Saturday at the Johnston City Fire Department.  It includes a yard sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The Break-fest and karate demonstration festival runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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