All of a sudden, there was a commotion on Hancock Avenue.
It was an old fire truck cruising by with loud and repetitive honking.
“Firefighters were on the truck waving,” a witness said via email.
“The truck was covered with (Richard) Skorman campaign signs,” he said. “The truck drew the attention of the crowd, stopping on occasion, and then turned west on Pikes Peak (Avenue).”
The truck, a 1976 American LaFrance, is owned, operated and insured by the Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters Association, a union whose members were off-duty while campaigning for Skorman.
The association endorsed Skorman over opponent Steve Bach in the hotly contested mayor’s race.
Despite being off the clock, the firefighters’ campaigning “came across as a clear endorsement of Skorman by the city’s Fire Department,” the witness said.
“A lot of people in the crowd were chattering about it, wondering whether the Fire Department should endorse a candidate for mayor,” he said.
Jeremy Kroto, association president, said his group rolls out the fire truck at various events.
“We’ve used it in previous campaigns as well … in the Amendment 47, 49 and 54 a few years ago,” he said.
“It’s not surprising but a little bit funny that this is coming up now. We’ve used that pumper at parades and we’ve used it at various fundraisers and all over the place and never heard any calls from it, but this one grabbed the attention,” he said.
The truck doesn’t have the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s logo on it, he said.
“It specifically has ‘IAFF’ logos on it,” he said, referring to the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Kroto said Saturday’s campaigning generated a couple of calls.
“It’s obviously a defensible story,” he said. “There’s nothing below the table going on. It’s our truck that we own and it’s all off-duty guys doing it.”
Kroto said it’s “reasonable” for people to ask why a fire truck is being used for campaigning.
“I’m in agreement that a taxpayer-funded shouldn’t be out doing campaigning,” he said. “I agree with those citizens who have those concerns, but like I said, it’s a fully defensible story.”