Friday, October 4, 2013
Georgetown's police and fire departments are adequately staffed on normal days.
But when there is a situation like was experienced with last week's Front Street fires, personnel is stretched thin which leads to unexpected overtime costs.
The total costs are not yet available but, according to City Administrator Chris Carter, between Sept. 25 — the day of the fire — and Saturday night there were 940 overtime hours. Of those, 570 overtime hours were within the fire department, 297 were within the police department and 53 were in the public works department.
Carter said in those four days the overtime cost to the city was $12,970.
Carter said most of the extra work for firefighters has been in shifts devoted to watching the debris pile for signs of hot spots, restricting access to the site and debris. That is a duty also being shared with the police department.
Police have also been escorting building owners in and out of damaged buildings as well as others such as insurance adjusters, state regulatory officials and providing security for the remaining two buildings.
Carter said there was been a minimum of two firefighters and two police officers at the site around the clock the first wee,.
As of Wednesday, that was reduced to one firefighter and one police officer.
Public works, Carter said, has been used for moving and re-positioning barricades, some debris removal in the streets and other jobs.
Carter said firefighters from Georgetown County and Midway Fire Rescue have assisted with the surveillance.
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