GONZALES — Gonzales Fire Department may soon have a new fire engineer. At the Oct. 16 city council meeting, the council was asked to approve the position of an additional fire engineer beginning Jan. 1.
One fire engineer has already been approved for the 2017-18 fiscal year, but another one is needed due to changes in volunteer statuses.
"We lost a couple key volunteers that were frankly giving relief to our personnel," said City Manager Rene Mendez. "In looking, it’s not a step that I am recommending lightly because it does increase the base of the general fund. Moving forward with everything that I see coming in the Industrial Park as well as the current level of activity, like responding to more medical calls."
The number of fire department calls has increased
"This is the next step in the evolution of the fire department," said Deputy Fire Chief Jason Muscio. "We had 76 calls for service in September. That's the second highest month that we've had ever."
The highest number for Gonzales Fire was in October 2016, but compared to September the calls are legitimate versus some false alarms. The fire engineer drives and operates the apparatus or the fire engine. The fire engineer would be full time.
The hiring of a new fire engineer was approved by City Council Members Scott Funk and Robert Bonincontri, Mayor Maria Orozco and Mayor Pro-Tem Liz Silva.