You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Springfield mechanics struggle to keep up with rough weather

City has 550 pieces of equipment to maintain.


It’s one of the coldest, messiest and most grueling jobs this winter: working in the city of Springfield’s service garage as a mechanic. But when it comes to keeping plow trucks and emergency vehicles on the streets, it’s also one of the most important.

“When one truck goes down, that’s just one truck that’s not out there plowing,” said Mike Aston, who’s worked as one of the city’s mechanics for the past nine years. “Everything is stepped up when it gets like this.”

Since January, the city’s six mechanics have not had a break, working 12-hour shifts seven days a week. They are responsible for maintaining 550 pieces of equipment. One of the most important jobs has been repairing the 23 snow plows in the fleet, which are being “pushed to their limits” with the constant barrage of snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures this month, said Chris Moore, city service director.

“They have eight tons of salt dumped on them several times a day, and everything’s rusty,” Moore said. “The guys are crawling under frozen, cold, rusty, dripping trucks to get them back rolling again.”

The garage is no toasty oasis, since the doors are opened constantly to cycle in the vehicles that need everything from a new radiator or transmission to wiper blades. Even when they’re off, mechanics are often called out to the scene when a vehicle breaks down in the snow to make emergency repairs. Aston said they can’t afford to lose one piece of equipment in the height of a storm.

“It’s cold whether you’re inside or outside,” he said.

This winter has been harsher than others, in that there’s been a snow event almost every other day. There’s barely time to make necessary repairs before the plows are needed back on the streets, or a police cruiser or ambulance is called back into service to respond to an emergency. As a result, non-essential equipment, like a city service car, may have to wait at the back of the line for a month, Moore said.

But getting these vehicles safely back into service is a job these mechanics take pride in, even if their work is all behind-the-scenes.

“It’s been unlike any year I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Aston said. “I am proud of these guys, 100 percent.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Clark Co. health officials report 1 suspected Zika virus
Clark Co. health officials report 1 suspected Zika virus

A traveler returning home in Clark County has contracted what is believed to be the Zika virus, according to the Clark County Combined Health District. The individual traveled from a “Zika hot spot” and upon return exhibited a rash and other symptoms consistent with Zika, according to Clark County Health Commissioner Charlie Patterson. ...
Stafford: Learn about cancer while applauding survivors
Stafford: Learn about cancer while applauding survivors

OK, class, I know it’s late in the school year, but Mr. Stafford needs you to settle down and take your seats. We’re starting today with a little quiz. Save your groans. The torture won’t last long this time. Just three questions, true or false, easy-peasy. But there’s a catch, a reason you might want to put down your cell phones...
Teen charged in Bellfontaine school threat
Teen charged in Bellfontaine school threat

A Bellfontaine High School student was arrested Thursday night and alleged to have made threats against the high school. The Bellfontaine Police Department announced on their Facebook page they arrested a 16-year-old and said that the community is safe. The student is alleged to have uploaded a video onto Facebook Thursday threatening to harm other...
SBDC exec to place more emphasis on existing businesses
SBDC exec to place more emphasis on existing businesses

The new executive director for the Small Business Development Center in Springfield said the agency will likely place more emphasis on growing existing businesses in Clark County. The agency has placed an emphasis in the past in helping small businesses get off the ground, said Rob Alexander, who took over as executive director of the SBDC. That kind...
Finns pay tribute to rock band Kiss
Finns pay tribute to rock band Kiss

Heavy metal fans in Finland decided to rock ’n’ roll all night and honor the band Kiss. >> Read more trending news Fans placed masks on four giant statues in the capital city of Helsinki to honor the hard-rock group, Yahoo reported. State-owned railway operator VR invited four fans of the band to paint black-and-white Kiss masks...
More Stories