Birmingham City Council

Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Firetruck?

The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to provide the neighboring town of Mulga with one of the city’s surplus fire trucks, in a move the council referred to as “a great example of regional cooperation.”

Mulga is a small town, with a population of 836 at the time of the 2010 census, in western Jefferson County just north of Pleasant Grove. The town maintains a volunteer fire department, which will take on Birmingham’s contribution, a 1990 Mack fire/pumper truck.

The ordinance passed by the council Tuesday also requires that Mulga fire and EMS personnel provide reasonable assistance on request, subject to availability.

Mulga Mayor Keith Varner said the deal happened as a result of discussions he and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin had looking for ways to implement a “big-brother, little-brother” relationship between the two municipalities. That discussion was helped, he said, by a pre-existing friendship between the two; Varner also is a bailiff at the Jefferson County Courthouse; Woodfin is a former assistant city attorney.

“When he found out what needs (Mulga) had, he really came through,” Varner said. “And this new fire engine is huge for us.”

The fire engine is the town’s second. Varner said it is needed to handle fires too large for just one engine. It also allows the department to attend to multiple situations at once. As part of the deal, Birmingham also provided Mulga with surplus turnout gear.

Conversations between the two municipalities about other potential points of collaboration are ongoing, Varner said.