Members of force picking up slack
Callaghan named interim chief
While Tonganoxie's fire chief and another firefighter are doing their part to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, local firefighters are making sure operations are going smoothly in Tonganoxie.
Before Fire Chief Dave Bennett and firefighter Joe Peel left last week to help hurricane victims, Mayor Dave Taylor scheduled an emergency meeting. Council president Velda Roberts, city attorney Mike Kelly, City Administrator Mike Yanez, Bennett, Peel and firefighter John Callaghan met to discuss how the department would function in Peel and Bennett's absence. Taylor recommended that Callaghan be named interim fire chief.
At Monday's city council meeting, the council unanimously approved the mayor's recommendation.
Callaghan said the department has been functioning well the last few days.
"The coverage of the fire department has been seamless," Callaghan said at Monday's meeting.
Callaghan said he brings in a part-time firefighter once a day, sometimes two when needed. He said the department hasn't had any problems with its normal calls.
"As far as coverage, nothing has changed," Callaghan said.
Callaghan said he contacts Bennett and Peel's wives daily for updates on how they're doing on the Gulf Coast.
"If I don't hear from the wives, I beep Joe on the Nextel," Callaghan said.
At Monday's meeting Taylor requested that Callaghan document in writing what has transpired since Bennett and Peel left. He wants copies sent to the Tonganoxie Historical Society for "the future so they know what we've been doing," Taylor said, referring to Tonganoxie's involvement in the hurricane relief effort.
Before Callaghan finished addressing the council, council member Jason Ward told Callaghan he appreciated the department's efforts.
"I just want to commend you and the work Joe and Dave are doing," Ward said.