Henderson Fire Chief responds after city spends $183k to fix equipment problems

Henderson Fire Chief responds after city spends $183k to fix equipment problems

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - We're learning more about how the Henderson Fire Department is making sure their breathing equipment never tests positive for chemicals again.

As 14NEWS reported last week, city officials were forced to declare an emergency so they could get the money to replace and clean the equipment.

This all started when firefighters began to smell petroleum in their air tanks.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends breathing apparatuses be checked for problems on a semi-annual basis.

Henderson Fire Chief Dan Froehlich said Tuesday that a company had been testing their breathing equipment every six months, and he's really not sure how this happened.

About six weeks ago, city officials declared an emergency after test results showed a mixture of petroleum and water in the breathing equipment. 14NEWS learned that during a closed session meeting, the city agreed to spend $183,000 to replace and clean breathing equipment.

Part of that equipment, an old air compressor, was 14-years-old.

Froehlich says the fire department has switched to a different company to test equipment.

They will now be having equipment and air samples checked every three months.

"I've been in this 37 years now," Froehlich explained. "I was in Owensboro first and now I'm here. And I've never seen us have a problem with our breathing air before, so this is the first one and it came as a shock to me."

Froehlich says they shouldn't have to spend any more than the $183,000. And they will continue to monitor the firefighter's health.

Even though chest x-rays and toxicology reports haven't shown anything harmful.

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