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Fire Department fined for safety counts


An anonymous complaint resulted in two state safety citations and a $300 fine for the Byron Township Fire Department. Representatives of the Michigan Occupation Safety and Health Administration said they cited the department for failing to have a written standard operating procedure in place for handling grass fires. That citation was considered something “other than serious” by MIOSHA.

The second citation, considered “serious,” was for failure to provide training specifically for handling grass fires. That citation came with a $300 fine and a Wednesday deadline to rectify the situation.

Fire Chief Roger Steenwyk said one training session has already taken place for grass fires and a second is scheduled for next week. A written standard operating procedure to handle grass fires has been added to the department handbook, he said.

“I’ve been on the department for 25 years; we’ve never had a written policy for grass fires,” Steenwyk said. “It’s just something that has gotten overlooked.”

Township Clerk Joel Hondorp, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said there also was a complaint that improperly certified firefighters were responding to emergency calls. He said he is one of those firefighters and is obtaining more training. He said that while he gets equipment for the trained firefighters and provides general assistance at the scene, he does not administer medical care and will not until his certification is complete.

Another firefighter was also in the process of obtaining certification when the complaint was made and has since completed that process. MIOSHA did not issue citations for those concerns.

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