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Menomonee Falls Fire Department exposes major problems within department

NOW: Menomonee Falls Fire Department exposes major problems within department

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Menomonee Falls Fire Department has a shortage of firefighters and fire engines. Last week, all of their fire trucks were out of service at the same time for six hours. 

The Menomonee Falls Fire Department made it clear during a Village Board Committee meeting on Tuesday that they have major problems.  The assistant fire chief said the department has a crisis and even called it a "nightmare."

Only three of the five Menomonee Falls fire engines are in service as of Tuesday night. But for six hours last Wednesday, there were no fire engines in service. They were all out because of mechanical issues.

At a committee meeting to discuss the problems in the department, the Menomonee Falls assistant fire chief said they're worried about the people in their community. 

"We are concerned about the health and well-being of our people and the people of the village," said Assistant Chief Jim Mollet.

Menomonee Falls has the second biggest fire department in Waukesha County. The assistant chief said part of the problem is that their fire engines are breaking down because the department is so busy, their engines are older, and they have major staffing shortages.

Right now, each firehouse has two personnel per shift, but the standard for their department size is six. The village board trustees said during the meeting that they weren't told about the seriousness of the issue.

"I too am bothered by the fact that your staff would reach out through another media versus just bringing it to the attention of the board," said a village board trustee.

Fire staff said they were told they couldn't address the board themselves and the assistant chief claims he formally reported the problems to his director several times but says his voice was not heard. 

"I swore to protect the people in this village," said Assistant Chief Mollet. "I don't feel like I'm able to do that." 

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