PETERSBURG, Va. -- It sounds like a big deal. Two of the Petersburg Fire Department's four engines were out of service recently. But Interim Fire Chief Chris Magann called it a small setback in what has been overall progress since he took over the department late last year.
"We’re a better Petersburg Fire Department today and we’re going to continue to get better," he said. "Unfortunately we’re working through the process of correcting a lot of issues from the past with apparatus.”
That includes the arrival of a new tiller truck and engine in June and money budgeted for training new firefighters.
“We did just graduate a school of five pre-certified, they’re in the stations, they’re working on shift now," he said. "We are in the process of doing a Sergeant's Process now, that process is in the early stages right now but it is moving forward.”
Once those 10 promotions are made, it will open up 10 fire fighting positions below.
Magann said there's also money in the budget to repair broken equipment.
After staffing issues, equipment breakdowns, Petersburg Fire makes improvements
"We are sending the apparatus out that are breaking down for repairs as soon as we can get them out," he said. "Unfortunately there’s a parts delay, just like almost anything."
Magann took over the department six months ago as interim chief when then Petersburg Fire Chief Tina Watkins left the position under unclear circumstances.
In 2022, the CBS 6 Problem Solvers reported on staffing shortages plaguing the department. The Problem Solvers also uncovered a years-long pattern of unkempt equipment maintenance at the Petersburg Fire Department.
Magann said despite the department's uneven past, things are starting to look up.
"We’ve made a lot of progress," he said.
Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email email@example.com to send a tip.
EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews