Sandusky's new fire chief, Dave Degnan, was sworn in to his new job Monday, but he didn't get much of a honeymoon.
Almost immediately, he faced tough questions about the department's staffing woes.
A crowd poured into the city commission's meeting room at City Hall to watch Degnan being sworn in by Dennis Murray Jr., the ex-officio mayor. Degnan's wife, René, stood by his side as he swore to protect Sandusky's citizens and property and to follow the U.S. Constitution and all federal, state and local laws.
Later at Monday's meeting, he said he's been talking with Sandusky's new city manager, Eric Wobser, about how to keep Fire Station No. 7 on the west side open every day.
"We're going to look at ways we can get the station back open," Degnan said.
He said that during June, Fire Station No. 7 was closed three days a week.
In response to questions about whether it would be better to alternate closing Fire Station No. 3 and No. 7, he said that during June, there were 90 responses from No. 7 but 173 from No. 3. If one station has to be closed, it makes sense for it to be No. 7, he said.
See Degnan's reaction to being named chief in the player below
Degnan said he also questions the wisdom of another proposal, placing only a two-person EMS squad at Fire Station No. 3 full time.
He is concerned that if those two respond to a fire, they could be persuaded to run inside a burning house without water backup, endangering themselves.
City commissioner Wes Poole said he's concerned about west side residents suffering heart attacks who might have to wait about six minutes for an ambulance, rather than about two minutes. The west end should not have to content itself with worse service than the rest of the city, and it's urgent to get the station back open, Poole said.
Degnan observed that only a few minutes also can make a difference when a house is on fire. In a couple of minutes, a house can become fully engulfed in flames, making it too late to save it, he said.
Watch the swearing in below