Last week's field fire on Old Ben property has the West City Fire Department on alert.
"Right now, we are without any way to fight a field fire," administrative director Richard Dale told West City Village Board members during their regular meeting Monday night.
"The pump blew up on our brush truck, and we are short on rakes and pumps to fight a field fire," Dale said.
The fire last Wednesday burned several acres of property located in Browning Township north of West City, Dale said. Thirty firefighters from four agencies battled the blaze for 4-1/2 hours, he said.
"There are seven methane wells, and we got within 15 feet of one of them," Dale said. "We were lucky this time. There's a kill switch, but if we don't get there on time: kaboom!"
Benton resident Don Storey commended the West City firefighters for their efforts.
"The fire and police departments don't get enough credit," Storey said. "They responded to the fire the other night and did one heck of a job.
"There are no roads out there, and what roads are there are gravel and mud. Thank you all for the job you did."
Dale said the brush truck will be repaired, and he recommended the village board consider purchasing an all-terrain vehicle for the department. Trustees later discussed the purchase of a six-wheeler for the department but tabled any action on the matter.
In other activity at the meeting:
• Zoning Administrator Alan Thomas said there is "still a deal in progress" with the Bonanza property, located at the intersection of Central Street and Route 14.
"Somebody is trying to buy it, probably another restaurateur," Thomas said.
He said the restaurant and the house located behind it will "probably go as a package deal."
• Dale informed trustees that the village is now officially a member of MABAS — the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System.
"You thought you were members of this, but the paperwork had not been filed," Dale said.
He noted that the system gives the village "pretty much an unlimited supply of help" from the emergency response system.
Trustees voted unanimously to:
• Approve a pay estimate increase of $5,700 on the Division Street water line project and pay $52,150.25 to Wiggs Excavating, Inc.
• Place Brandon Overton on the part-time Street and Water Department panel.
• Approve a resolution for a housing grant.
• Donate $200 to the Clean & Green project.
• Allow Rend Lake College to use the West City Community Center for an aerobics class.
• Donate excess/surplus fire department equipment to Buckner.