Taking what is theirs

PRESQUE ISLE – Michigan Department of Natural Resources officers were at the Presque Isle Fire Department Friday to acquire a federally owned truck previously involved in a mutual aid agreement before the department became defunct.

“The fire department is no longer an organized fire department,” Michigan DNR Forest Fire Officer Mark Hansen said. “They have equipment that is on loan to them from the U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of Natural Resources oversees that program for the State of Michigan.”

Hansen said the reason the equipment had to be removed from the department was a stipulation with the loan of federal surplus property.

“In order to have a federal surplus property, they have to have a current mutual aid agreement, and they also have to have insurance on the vehicles,” Hansen said. “Seeing as how they are not an organized fire department any longer, they can’t have a current mutual aid agreement.”

Hansen said it is unfortunate the department is no longer functioning, but the federal property needed to be removed to be protected.

“We’re just taking back the federal property that we are responsible for,” Hansen said. “Our interest is to protect it. We have a total of two trucks and one generator.”

The back of the truck has several pieces of equipment that are property of the fire department, which will be returned to the department once it is removed.

“If the fire department becomes organized again, they will be eligible to apply for equipment,” Hansen said. “The equipment that is currently owned by the fire department will be given back. The stuff on top of the truck is theirs, so they will get that back. We just want to make sure we’re securing our interests and having it put back into our system, Since it’s federal property that we have to oversee, we just have to get it back.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at ngrulke@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.