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Ludlow Chief Gives Details on Destructive Fire, City Looks to Strengthen Its Heroin Fight

At the Ludlow City Council meeting on Thursday night, Fire Chief Rob Dreyer elaborated on a fire that took place at the Train Engine Repair House last week which caused one of two 80-foot towers to fall to the ground.

Dreyer called it an especially difficult fire to battle as it was an engine room that is designed to blow out fumes from the engines but when the man working in the room left to get parts, he returned to discover smoke and the subsequent fire.

“Shortly thereafter one of the towers fell. We were able to use the ladder-truck which was a great asset to access the roof and stretch a line up there and at the same time stretch a line inside to where there was a timber ceiling in the room,” Dreyer said.

He said there was extensive fire damage to the room and its contents and that it took longer than usual to put out the fire.

“It was very icy with water and it being 16 degrees out. The guys did a great job, everything worked like it was supposed to. As far as what we saved, prior to our arrival there had been two engines in the room. They moved one of them out but the other one was still in there.”

Dreyer said that each engine was valued over $1 million.

He also said that the his department has been in connection with the Grateful Life Rehabilitation Center in regards to how they handle the heroin overdose cases they come across in the area.

“Obviously we've been battling the heroin problem in Northern Kentucky for quite some time and I no longer wanted to be a service that just picks somebody up, treats them and takes them to the hospital. I want to be able to answer questions for them, point them in the right direction if those folks or their family members want some help,” Dreyer said. “Because of that, I went out and sought relationships with Grateful Life including Dr. Jason Merrick who came in and taught some of our people on how to better deal with these folks.”

Dreyer said that his staff is trained and have carried Narcan kits which contains naloxone, a drug used to fight heroin overdose, since 2012.

Ludlow Police Lt. Bart Beck said that the city is exploring the possibility of receiving a narcotic-detection canine unit. He said that he is cautiously optimistic that Ludlow will get a free canine and promises to update the community and the city council as progress is made. A Ludlow police officer would have to undergo training to handle the canine if the city is issued a police dog.

Beginning in April, Lt. Beck, who is acting as interim chief, will be away from the area for over two months to attend the FBI National Academy. While he is gone, Sgt. Eric Love will be in charge since Ludlow has no current police chief after former chief Steve Jarvis abruptly resigned in December.

Ludlow will host a 10-week long Citizens Police Academy which will feature classes for citizens to learn how the police department works as well as the role it plays in the community. Sgt. Love has arranged many guest speakers to talk about issues facing the city, specifically the spike in heroin use. Mayor Ken Wynn said he intends to go and encouraged his City Council to consider attending as well. Citizens interested in the event should contact Sgt. Love.

Story & photo by Bryan Burke, associate editor