Resident who lost home to fire asks county commission to improve communication

The Buntin family home burned on Sept. 25, 2022. (Crusher Lures/Facebook)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Commission at its Tuesday meeting heard from Sean Buntin, a resident of County Road 222, who requested improved communication among county departments, contractors and others to prevent additional tragedies similar to the one his family suffered last month when their home was destroyed by fire.  

“A call to 911 occurred at 6 a.m. in the morning,” Buntin said to the commissioners. “Our home was destroyed 40 minutes later.” 

Buntin said the closest fire hydrant to the home was approximately 800 feet away but was inoperable,  which was unknown to the responding fire department whose truck carried only 1,000-1,200 gallons of water according to Buntin. The fire truck’s water reserve quickly ran out, and, he said, “The fire department wasted precious time connecting to a hydrant that had recently been inspected and deemed unfit for service.” 

The closest operable hydrant was 2,700 feet away by Buntin’s estimation. He noted that the out-of-service hydrant was replaced the day after his home burned down. Buntin surmised that budget constraints have slowed timely repairs and that aging water lines are unable to withstand the high water flow needed for firefighting. He asked the commission to improve communication, to tag inoperable equipment so that it can be identified by all departments and to work together with the community in seeking solutions. 

The commission proclaimed Oct. 17-23 Pilot Club International Founders Week. Pilot International was founded in Macon, Georgia in 1921 with a mission of “influencing positive change in communities throughout the world.” The Cullman chapter of the Pilot Club was chartered over 40 years ago.  

Left to right are Cullman County Commission Chairman Jeff Clemmons, Pilot Brenda Allison, Commissioner Kerry Watson, Pilot Beverly Wilkerson, Commissioner Garry Marchman, Pilots Peggy Harris, Elaine Cole, Gwen Parker, and Charter Pilot Carole Garrett. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune) 

The commission also proclaimed Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Vicky Fisher was recognized for being named the president of the County Revenue Officers Association of Alabama (CROAA). 

The following agenda items were approved: 

  • Change the speed limit to 25 mph on County Road 807 
  • Approve extending Temporary Premium Pay for two additional pay periods and approve Extended Premium Pay Policies and Procedures 
  • Ratify tax abatement for The Shaddix Company, Inc. in the amount of $484,695 
  • Approve extending the temporary premium pay for two additional pay periods and approve Extended Premium Pay Policies and Procedures 
  • Reappoint Ron Hogue to the Library Board of Trustees for a 4-year term to expire Sept. 30, 2026 
  • Reappoint Doug Davenport to the North Alabama Tourism Association for a 2-year term to expire Sept. 30, 2024 
  • Consider a one-time, non-recurring pay increase for active employees who do not qualify for expenditure of American Rescue Plan Act Funds for Temporary Premium Pay Program. Omnibus Pay Act restrictions will apply. 
  • Approve and authorize Chairman Clemons and County Administrator John Bullard to sign the NARCOG Title III Aging Contract and the SenioRX Contract 
  • Purchase of a 624L Rubber Tire Loader for the Road Department from Warrior Tractor in the amount of $137,153.36  
  • Purchase of a Takeuchi TB240 Mini Track-Mounted Excavator for the Road Department from State bid (Contract no. MA999) in the amount of $49,846.80 
  • Purchase of a 2024 Mack TE64R Front End Loader for the Sanitation Department from Sourcewell Contract (Contract no. 091219-THC) in the amount of $344,007.08  
  • Consider approval of the annual subscription for the Revenue Mapping Software-cost $55,000 to be paid from the Reappraisal Budget. 
  • Surplus of a 1999 Ford F150 (Vin no. 1FTRF17W3XNC06433) and a 2006 Chevy Truck (Vin # 1GCDT196568217124) from Sanitation to be auctioned on GovDeal 
  • Surplus of a 2008 Ford Expedition (Vin # 1FMFU165X8LA76676) from Safety to be auctioned on Gov Deals 
  • Surplus of a 2006 Ford F-1S0 (Vin no. 1FTRF12W76NB27305) from the Courthouse to be auctioned on GovDeals 
  • Surplus the following from the Road Department to be auctioned on GovDeals: 
  • 2002 Chevrolet 1500 (Vin # 1GCEC14W62Z185199) 
  • 2004 Durango (Vin # 104HB38N34F158739) 
  • 2008 Ford F-350 (Vin # 1FDWW36R48EB85258) 
  • 2016 Ford F-250 Vin # 1FTBF2B60GEB17224) 
  • 2011 Chevy Truck (Vin # 3GCPKPEA3BG213218) 
  • 2000 Chevy Truck (Vin # 1GCEK14VXYZ221222) 
  • 2003 Ford F-150 XLT 4X4 (Vin # 2FTRX18W23CA45004) 
  • Approve reimbursement to Sheriff’s Office for $67,404 for two F150 Pickups from State Bid T191 
  • Award Bid no. 1413 for motor and hydraulic oil to The McPherson Companies, Inc. and transmission fluid and grease to W.H. Thomas Oil Company, Inc. 
  • Award Bid no. 1415 for emulsified asphalt to Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions 

Melissa Betts from The Link of Cullman County thanked the commission for granting use of the parking lot at 402 Arnold St. NE on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 6-9 p.m. for a community trunk or treat event. All are welcome. 

The next Cullman County Commission work session will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, at 4 p.m. in the Commission Meeting Room at the Cullman County Courthouse. The regular meeting will be held at 6 the same day. 

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