At the Town Meeting on March 21, residents will vote on whether to add a second full-time firefighter/emergency medical services (EMS) position in the Belgrade Fire & Rescue Department. This position is needed because of declining numbers of volunteer firefighters, the decreasing availability of EMS personnel, and the aging demographics of our community.
If approved, the full-time firefighter/EMS employee would give the community on-duty staffing for 10 hours a day, seven days a week. Funding for the position would be split with the Town of Rome, if Rome voters also approve the measure. The additional firefighter/EMS employee would be stationed in Belgrade, but would respond to calls in Belgrade and Rome. If Rome voters reject their article to help fund the position, Belgrade would fund the entire position. If that were the case, the firefighter/EMS employee would respond to calls in Belgrade, going to Rome only in extraordinary circumstances. Belgrade’s mutual aid agreement to respond to fire calls in Rome would remain in effect.
Also at Town Meeting, voters in the March 20 secret-ballot election will consider a cost recovery ordinance. This measure would allow the Town to bill insurance companies to recover the Fire & Rescue Department’s costs for responding to incidents such as vehicle crashes. Belgrade taxpayers would be exempt from the ordinance. The money generated by cost recovery would help fund the cost of the additional firefighter’s salary. Had this ordinance been in place in January 2019 when the department responded to a tanker truck fire on Route 27, the Town would have recovered approximately $36,000 in cost.
By this fall, the department should receive the new fire truck that voters approved in 2019. This vehicle, which has been ordered, will replace our 34-year-old tank truck stationed in Belgrade Depot.
Lastly, this year the department will continue to move forward with plans to build a new fire station in the Depot area. The new station will replace the existing Depot station, which has no running water, no room to walk around the trucks (which complicates performing mandatory truck checks), and no space for offices. A new facility would allow the on-duty staff to be stationed in the middle of town. The department’s building committee continues to search for available land; we appreciate any ideas in that regard.
At the Belgrade Fire & Rescue winter celebration, we recognized Capt. Bruce Plourd, who resigned from the department after 33 years of service to move from town. Also honored were Gary Foss, our Rescue Volunteer of the Year, and Ed Ketch Jr., our Firefighter of the Year. Chief Dan MacKenzie was also recognized for his 30 years of dedicated service to the department, including the last 10 years as chief.
Belgrade Fire & Rescue thanks the citizens of Belgrade for their continued support. In addition, we thank Bob the Plumber, Hammond Lumber Co., Belgrade Lakes Electric and Generators of Maine for allowing their employees to leave for fire and rescue calls.
Dan MacKenzie, Fire Chief
Travis Burton, Rescue Chief
2019 Fire & Rescue
Motor vehicle accidents
C/O & other gases
Water / ice rescue
Tree down / on wires
Mutual aid provided to Rome, Sidney, Waterville, Farmington, Fairfield, Vienna, Fayette Oakland, Smithfield and Mount Vernon.
10-year Fire & Rescue call summary