Independent fire department should be...

Independent fire department should be a no-brainer

There are 3 comments on the Covington Leader story from Feb 6, 2013, titled Independent fire department should be a no-brainer. In it, Covington Leader reports that:

To be or not to be, that is the question in Atoka as officials study the feasibility of creating its own fire department.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Covington Leader.


Fort Worth, TX

#1 Feb 11, 2013
It is a no brainer! Im willing to pay a little more on my taxes to have Emergency Services that is souly managed and operated by Atoka by a competent, educated and experienced leader. As long as we deal with Munford for fire and medical service, we will always get minimal protection. The City of Munford and its antiquated leaders have sat on their behinds for so long with their primary focus on parks and recreation that its affecting the Town of Atoka in receiving top notch service. We shouldnt have to loan money to Munford to be able to adequately staff Station 3. Sometimes its manned with "bodies" that IS NOT qualified to drive or operate a fire engine. Seriously, im supportive of severing all ties with Munford.

United States

#2 May 27, 2014
What do you expect from a Fire Chief who refuses to become better educated? Barkelew is in that position because he was about to get ran off from Alstate Insurance Co. He was a problem there, so Mayor Cole (childhood friend) gave the job to him. There was no chance for any QUALIFIED and EDUCATED applicant to get appointed. The man is doing good to turn on a computer, seriously. He is not a technology friendly individual. Barkelew is nothing more than a old die hard old Firestone/Factory worker, a company man. One who ultimately believes the employee should work their hours, then donate their time, money and life to their job. In his eyes, if you do not do this then you are basically a piece of trash.
Where has Munford FD moved since Barkelew has been running the Department? No where, in fact it has regressed. Barkelew has failed to progress a single aspect during his tenure. He is a man who cuts corners to save money, even if it involves safety. For example: the Ladder Truck had struck a pole with the over hanging basket and instead of having it professionally repaired and inspected, he repaired it using hand tools and said that is good enough. Engine 18 (yellow truck) went 16 months in urgent need of a complete brake job. The drivers constantly complained about the truck not stopping. Barkelew even drove it and made comments about the horrible condition of the brakes. Did Barkelew fix it? No! He continued to use it and eventually had it repaired.These are major safety concerns and not a priority on his list.
Training? That's a joke. Its sad when the Firefighters take their own money and use their own time to travel and take advanced courses with no recognition from the Chief or City. Bi-Monthly training consists of training that is focused on educating the basics to the newer reserves. There is hardly any advanced training given by the Dept.
As for your "bodies" comment, that incident resulted in 2 inexperienced men sent to staff Station 3 per the orders of Barkelew. Neither Firefighter were training and qualified to operate Engine 3, so they were confined to responding with the Brush Truck.(Completely against what Chief Bonson would have done) To Barkelew that is sufficient because Station will respond with a Engine. There are some really great men on the Department that know what they are doing and would be even better if the cities pushed for top notch training. Most of the men there thrive for that, with the exception of a select few firefighters.
Perhaps you are unaware of Barkelew's son given a Lieutenants position. There was no posting of a promotion, test, interview, equal oppurtunity, NOTHING. It was a "Son your now a Lieutenant because I have no one good enough to do it"
Barkelew has no problem running reserves off that miss bi-monthly drills and shifts. Once he does that he belittles that individual to the point that its old. However he allows his wife, Debbie to be a reserve. However she does nothing more than make an appearance on drill night and lull around. She does not make calls, work shifts or actively participate in any capacity other than make an appearance on Drill nights. Yet Debbie has turnout gear in better condition than what others wear
I could go on and on but im not. You get what you pay for and until the citizens speak up and make a stand nothing will change, you will continue to receive second class service and a second rate Fire Chief. I suspect with this new Captains position they want to hire and fill, will go to Jack Foraker because, he is in the loop and a good friend of Cole and Barkelew, Foraker lost his job with Millington Fire and is a former Chief of Munford/Atoka Fire. Jack is a fine man with a retirement, but new blood and leadership is desperately needed for the dept.
Come back Jay, we miss you!

United States

#3 May 27, 2014
Chief Alan Barkelew is a dumbass if I ever seen one.

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