50 applicants file for fire position

MARIETTA – The Marietta City Fire Department is hoping to fill a firefighter position with an upcoming civil service exam.

Approximately 50 people have already signed up for the exam, scheduled for March 1 and 7, said Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham.

Like the civil service exam administered in May for the Marietta City Police Department, the fire department’s exam consists of both a written and physical agility test. However, the fire department’s physical exam differs in that it is based on actual job-related skills rather than basic fitness activities, said Durham.

“It’s all job-related skills – pulling a hose, dragging a rescue dummy, climbing a ladder,” he said.

The physical agility test is divided into eight events, seven of which must be done while wearing an air pack.

Those who pass both the written and physical test will receive a combined score. From those scores, a top ten list will be certified by the city’s Civil Service Commission. Those candidates will be given to the fire department for hiring consideration, said Durham.

The list from the last civil service exam, which was held in December 2011, expired this December.

Firefighter Matt Alloway, who was hired by the department in June, was the last to be hired from the previous list. Alloway recalled his experience taking the exam.

“It’s all pretty standard stuff that you can do without having any experience,” said Alloway, who was previously a firefighter in Parkersburg.

In fact, the last event of the test – a mile-and-a-half run done without wearing the air pack – is arguably the hardest, he said.

The department will be offering a practice agility session Feb. 22 at the Third Street fire station.

“Everyone on shift that day will be here helping people out,” said Alloway.

Being a city firefighter has lots of benefits, not least of which is the pride that goes along with it, he said.

“You get to help people out every day,” he said.

Alloway also enjoys the 24-hour shift required by the job.

“You get two days off in a row after that,” he said.

The starting salary for a new city firefighter is $14.97 an hour, according to the posting for the job on the city’s website.

The department needs to hire a new firefighter to fill a void created when Lt. Rodney Scott was deployed for overseas military duty in the fall, said Durham.

“There’s overtime created while he’s gone,” he said.

According to the Marietta City Auditor’s Office, the city fire department logged $11,641.27 of overtime pay in November and $16,105.58 of overtime pay in December.

Durham went to Marietta City Council in October and again in January asking for permission to hire a new firefighter to help fill Scott’s place.

Councilman Steve Thomas, chairman of the police and fire committee, said he is hopeful council will pass a resolution at its meeting Thursday to allow for the hiring.

“It’s going to save the city overtime. It’s also going to make us more efficient,” he said.

Thomas said he expects the resolution will be introduced as an emergency measure and passed the same night. Still, it could take a while to have a new man in place, said Durham.

“We couldn’t hire until the civil service certified the test and gave us a list of eligible applicants,” he said.

Anyone hired would have to already be or get certified after hiring as a Firefighter II, a basic EMT, a hazardous material technician, and a confined space rescue training technician, said Durham.

People who do have any of those certifications, military members, and college graduates will be given additional points on the exam, he added.

The civil service exam is open to those ages 18 to 40. Applications can be picked up at Marietta City Hall at 301 Putnam St. and must be returned there by Feb. 26.