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Settlements reached with local firefighters injured in truck fire

Settlements reached with local firefighters injured in truck fire
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A financial settlement has been reached between Obion city officials and two volunteer firefighters who were injured during a rural fire call June 2 in the Glass community.
The Obion City Council met briefly Monday night to take care of a pair of resolutions that essentially offer financial settlements to firefighters Paul Duren and Jonathan P. Tolley.
Unanimous approval was granted to a resolution that offers Duren a settlement of $14,768.76 to cover his medical expenses, legal fees and other miscellaneous expenses that occurred as a result of his work battling a farm truck fire west of Obion.
Also, a second resolution was unanimously approved offering Jonathan Tolley a settlement of $25,009.09 to cover his expenses from the same fire.
The injuries sustained by the two firefighters came as they were fighting a farm truck fire in a field in the Glass community. The farm truck, pulling a spreader buggy filled with ammonium nitrate, caught fire in the field and, as a result of the toxic fumes, 15 houses in the area had to be evacuated.
Both firefighters had to be airlifted to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, where they were treated for their injuries.
Once the resolutions and the settlement amounts are accepted by the two volunteer firefighters and their attorneys, the city will no longer be responsible for any further expenses for the firefighters.
It’s taken several months to come up with the agreements, which were reached following negotiations between the city, the firefighters and attorneys. Several executive sessions have been held in recent months to discuss the agreements.
Council members Mike Miller and Bob Anderson were appointed to work on the agreements on behalf of the city and it was Miller who spoke openly about the settlements Monday night.
“They’ve done quite a bit of work on this,” he said, in reference to attorneys for both sides.
He went on to say the settlements were the “right thing to do” and said, “both firefighters are in agreement, to the best of my knowledge.”
The city council still has a legal bill coming from its city attorney in connection to the negotiations.
Also during Monday night’s 12-minute meeting, the council unanimously approved the second and final reading of the town’s 2011-12 budget.
Preliminary approval of the three-page budget came earlier this month. The 2011-12 spending plan does not raise property taxes for residents but does rely heavily on fund reserves. The budget includes $1,983,237 in revenues and $1,413,516 in expenses, leaving the city with a $569,721 fund balance at the end of the fiscal year.
Monday night’s meeting was opened in prayer by Mayor Glen Parnell.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.25.11

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