Council approves purchase of new equipment to replace ones lost in fire
Public Works Director Mike Gladbach shows the city council photos of the fire damage at the public works building. The south end of the building and 11 snow plows were destroyed in the fire. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)
After a devastating fire that destroyed much of the Sandy Public Works building, the city is moving quickly to replace the trucks and equipment destroyed in the blaze. The city council approved $2.64 million in fund adjustments and transfers to cover the costs of the trucks during their Jan. 31 meeting. The $2.64 million came from a transfer of $1.475 million from the city’s risk fund, $1 million from the fleet fund and $165,000 in anticipated insurance reimbursement.
The fire happened early Jan. 27 at the south side of the public works building, located at 8775 South 700 West. The building housed 11 10-wheeler snow plows and other equipment.
“We got the call early Friday morning. I went in and the south half of the building was on fire,” said Public Works Director Mike Gladbach. “It turned into a four-alarm fire. That means 100 firefighters were there from every city, ladder trucks and all other kinds of trucks.”
The south end of the building was completely destroyed with the rest of the building suffering smoke and water damage. The city lost 11 trucks, a front-end loader, two hot pot trucks for road-crack sealing, an air compressor and other miscellaneous items such as tools.
Gladbach said the reason the rest of the building didn’t burn down as well was because of a fire wall.
“We had a fire wall between the south bays and the admin area and the fleet maintenance and the fire did not get past that,” Gladbach said. “The doors were closed like they were supposed to be. The employees did what they were supposed to do, which is to not prop the doors open.”
The administration of public works had temporarily moved in with public utilities at Sandy City Hall and has been able to continue to function with its duties.
The city has received an outpouring of support from other municipalities and organization to ensure it is equipped to handle snow plowing. Sandy has received two trucks from Bountiful, two trucks from Salt Lake County and another from West Jordan. The Utah Department of Transportation has also donated five trucks.
“The public works facilities that have offered up equipment are operating under an agreement that was signed off about three years ago for emergencies such as this. They’re already covered by this agreement,” Gladbach said. “UDOT is not part of that. They’re kind of a different animal. The attorney general put together a lease agreement for the five trucks they’re going to loan us. It will be a nominal fee.”
Gladbach said it’s been really nice to see sister cities, the county and the state all chipping in and helping out Sandy during their time of crisis.
“All of those public works directors have been calling me,” Gladbach said. “Their fleet managers have been calling my fleet managers. At every level, there is all that activity going on.”
Chase Parker, from risk management in Sandy, talked to the council about the insurance policies held by the city. He explained the city has property insurance for the building and its contents and auto insurance for physical damage to the plows.
The city has $3,253,900 in coverage on the building with a $25,000 deductible. The city also has $64,000 in coverage for the personal contents of the building, including furniture and light fixtures. There is also $900,000 to cover the loss of electronic database processing, such as computers, servers and telephones. Each of the 11 lost snow plows were insured at $50,000 each.
Parker said the city will hear back from their insurance company three weeks from the city council meeting as to what they think the total loss is. However, the insurance company doesn’t dispute that the south bay of the public works building will have to be completely torn down and rebuilt.