Alan Ackley incompetent fire board president and liquor store owner

acute supraventricular tachycardia
We told Greer it was time to get off his ass and start writing again. So he’s old and had a little episode of supraventricular tachycardia this summer. He took care of it. After a half hour of first aid to slow the sudden, runaway, thready pulse, he decided to pull the trigger and dial 9-1-1 after feeling lightheaded.

Lucky for him, he lives in a town with modern, professional emergency services, and while he was still on the phone with the dispatcher, he could hear the siren as the medic left the firehouse a half mile away, and by the time Greer had the patio door open and planted himself in a living room chair to avoid passing out, three fire department paramedics walked in, identified themselves, and went to work. Start the IV needle, attach the leads for the EKG (pulse spiking at 190), try the vagus maneuver. No good. First low dose shot of adenosine. No good. Brace yourself old man. Second full dose of adenosine. Heart rate dropped to normal range. Transport to the ER.

advanced wet macular degenration
Big deal. So after that little cardiac episode, you nearly lost the sight in your good eye because of a medical screwup (by an MD) too detailed to describe here. Your right eye is responding to the avastin injection and you can write again. Get on the plane and fly to Groton for the exclusive interview with fearless fire district leader Alan Ackley. He safid he’d meet you at that bar he visits after fire district board meetings.

feeble alcohol syndrome
Greer: Mr. Ackley, a lot of people are saying you don’t care about public safety in Groton. You just want to bust the union.

Ackley: Bust the union.

Greer: Sir, if you don’t mind my asking, how many beers have you had? Are those boilermakers?

Ackley: Bust the union.

Greer: Sir, the New London Day reports that your fire district board agreed to a state mediated settlement with the firefighters’ union and then retracted that agreement.

Ackley: Bust the union.

Greer: The paper also reported that your plan to recruit and train volunteer firefighters to supplement the remaining paid personnel was nothing more than posting a banner at the old Fort Hill station.

Ackley: Bust the union.

Greer: You have to laugh at the irony of the existing volunteer company that owns that station removing the sign because you never asked for permission to post the sign.

Ackley: Bust the union.

Greer: And don’t you find it odd that you’d close the Fort Hill firehouse to save money and now advertise that you want to open it again for volunteer firefighters?

Ackley: Bust union.,

Greer: Why has it taken you two years to just start to recruit volunteer firefighters?

Ackley: Bust union.

Greer: The Day also reports that you fired the law firm that has been representing the district for 15 years to hire a Rhode Island law firm.

Ackley: Buss the union.

Greer: Sir, do you always drink this heavily?

Ackley: Bussa union.

Greer: Do you thnk the voters in the district will appreciate having their tax dollars spent in Rhode Island to hrie a union busting law firm when the district already had a law firm?

Ackley: Sa onion.

Greer: Do you see the retirement of Chief Paige as related to your incompetent leadership?

Ackley: Busonion.

Greer: Do you see the resignation of Nancy Beckwith and Peter Legnos from the fire district board as a comment on the incompetence of your leadership?

Ackley: Busuuuuuuu . . .

Greer: Mr. Ackley? Are you okay? Looked like you hit your head pretty hard when you fell off the chair. Mr. Ackley? Do you want me to dial 9-1-1? The pickup truck should be here any minute. Mr. Ackley?

PBS American Experience is broadcasting a history of The Big Burn, the catastropic 1910 forest fire in the Northern Rockies that killed 78 firefighters.

Corvallis Oregon 86-acre brush fire 5-6 Sept 2014 (Gazette-Times)

5-6 September 2014
We heard the sirens starting around 9 p.m. while we watched evening television, but that’s not unusual living as close as we live to a firehouse, although most of the time the siren is a medical run. But they multiplied and came from all directions after a while, and didn’t stop until midnight as one mutual aid company after another arrived from all over the county to help the city fire department and the Oregon Department of Forestry with a brush and grass fire that blew up as they tend to do at the end of a day with 90-degree heat and 25 percent humidity—a red flag warning day of high fire risk. Sheriff and police units added to the cacophony as they converged on threatened neighborhoods to start a mandatory evacuation. Small in acreage compared to most wildland fires, but this was a classic wildland urban interface fire, and the incident commanders acted rapidly to block the fire from reaching homes; they pulled resources in as fast as possible and ordered an evacuation given how close people lived to the incinerating brush and grass and trees. Just in case.

Timberhill burn 5-6 Sept 2014 (Democrat-Herald)

Corvallis Engine 134 on standby the morning of 6 Sept 2014 (pipenozzle)

The 86 acre burn (about 66 football fields) is located on the north side of town where that wildland urban interface (a public land manager term) has grown in the last few years as more and more houses and rowhouses and apartment buildings were built next to a city park that borders the 5000-acre McDonald State Forest you see at the top of the aerial image. People like living up the hill on 29th because they can walk out their front door and five minutes later they’re on a hiking trail in the park and on into the forest. Nice life, and I have hiked those trails through what’s now a burn up the ridge and into the forest, and my daughter and I would pick blackberries up there each summer, but I wouldn’t live on that ridge.

Down here on the flats we bought a house near the fire department, a house with a hydrant next door, and we have our water connected to a faucet stand in the backyard with two Y connectors, each with a long hose used most of the time for watering flowers, but ready also for the special nozzle I keep in the garage ready to connect if needed.

We had a yard sale last summer and this guy stops to buy the three window fans we were selling after we’d finally used a tax return to install a heat pump. He grabbed the fans and claimed he’d been told before he moved to western Oregon that the summers were mild. We smiled and explained Oregon weather. We have two seasons in lowland western Oregon: wet and hot. As in 90+ and sometimes 100+ during the summer. With low humidity and no rain. You could also say the lowland seasons are monsoon and fire season. Forest and grasslands dry each summer and the fires start, most often ignited by lightning, and every summer we get red flag warnings like the one on September 5th when the temps rose over 90 and the humidity dropped into the 20s.

Since the fire started after dark in the park away from homes, no one spotted it until flames flared in the usual evening breeze and lit the night sky as they made a run downhill toward, as firefighters say, occupied structures from mini-mansions to rowhousess to apartment buildings.

The evacuation order was lifted by 1:30 a.m., and then the morning of September 6th I hiked up 29th with hordes of other gawkers to photograph the damage and apparatus and talk briefly with exhausted firefighters. Mop up would take days, but they’d stopped the burn literally at back porches before anything but the porches was singed but for one dwelling that suffered structural damage the next morning when a flying ember lurking behind siding during the night lit up. CFD made a quick stop that confined the fire to that outside wall.

I’m glad I live where I do with the public servants we have, and pay my taxes without complaint because I do not want the town to turn into the one with the conflagration I wrote about in “Engine 10.” I thanked the dead-tired engine crews at each of the three fire trucks I visited on my hike up 29th. They’d been up all night.

Corvallis Rural Fire District forestry pumper on standby at the top of 29th Street the morning of 6 Sept 2014 (pipenozzle)

Barry Roberts Greer
author, Seven Two, Pipe Nozzle, Engine 10, Of Cowards and Firefighters

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