2008-08-02 / News

Former police chief is new Thornville Fire Chief

By Scott Rawdon

THORNVILLE - Former Thornville Police Chief Duane Moore is the new Thornville- Thorn Township Fire Chief. The Thorn Township Trustees announced their controversial decision Tuesday night during their regularly scheduled meeting. Trustee Tim Phipps said the decision was between Moore and former Fire Chief Rob Sands, who will serve as assistant fire chief; Sands served as chief from approximately 2003 to 2005. The chief and assistant chief positions are both voluntary. Phipps said the trustees met over the weekend and narrowed the candidates to Moore and Sands. The trustees chose Moore for several reasons.

Phipps said Moore has tenure and administrative skills. Also, Moore is "new face" as chief of the department. "(Sands) served as chief before and resigned," he said, adding that Moore has never had the opportunity to serve as chief.

Several firefighters present at the meeting commented that Moore, while he may have administrative skills, has never been inside a burning building. He usually drove the vehicles to squad runs. They also commented that the firefighters were not consulted before the decision was made.

"No matter who we appoint, we're going to make someone mad," said Phipps. He said according to department bylaws it's the trustees' decision and they're not required to consult with the department.

A firefighter who identified himself as "Tiny" said he was ready to quit the department when he heard the news, but has since decided to give Moore a chance.

Trustee Rick Wilson echoed Tiny's sentiment. "Give it a chance guys," he said. "Let's get together and get this thing done." He said it's imperative that everyone within the department communicates with each other and works together. Wilson said the department officers would choose members for four three-person committees - supplies, equipment, building and maintenance, and training. He said more committees may be added later, but for now they'll start with those.

Wilson said the department also needs to purchase necessary small equipment. "Some people don't have gloves, some people don't have flashlights," he said.

Sands said the department has $1,000 available for basic supplies, which should be enough. He said after the meeting that he is fine with his appointment as assistant chief. "It's all for what's best for the township," he said. Sands spent nine years as assistant chief before becoming chief in 2003, he said, and he has 23 years on the department.

Moore could not be reached for comment.

In other township news:

The trustees unanimously approved a plan for Heron Cove, a two-acre, 20-unit condominium development near the corner of Honey Creek Road and Township Road 1072 near Thornport. The trustees approved the plan after developer Berry & Miller Construction, Inc. agreed to modify several driveways so ve of the condos onto the road and the township will install a stop sign at a busy intersection at the developer's expense. Also, there will be a $1,000 exaction fee per unit, which is paid to the township at the time of each closing.

Resident Pete Myer said the public wasn't allowed to speak during a previous meeting and took this opportunity to question zoning issues. "My concern is adequate notice to the public hasn't been given," he said. Myer added that according to township zoning, if a subdivision is less than 10 acres, all properties surrounding it must be platted. He said platted property does not surround Heron Cove. "This violates why you have zoning at all," said Myer.

Phipps said Wednesday that he believes each surrounding property is platted (subdivided), including property that's under water. He said the property was platted before it was flooded as a waterway. "That's what we were going on," he said.

Myer said that excavation of the property was already taking place, when according to zoning excavation can't begin until the subdivision is approved.

"It doesn't say that in our book," said Zoning Inspector Dale Factor. Myer said he believes township zoning clearly states that excavation is considered construction.

Phipps said no one complained when the developer removed several derelict trailers from the property. "It was all leading down the same path," he said.

"You guys need to change your (zoning) book," said Myer.

"I don't disagree with you there," replied Phipps.

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