More in News
Byron leaning toward contracting fire service
BYRON -- A special town meeting will take place on Dec. 8 for residents about whether the town should enter into negotiations with Mexico and/or Roxbury for future fire coverage.
The 6 p.m. meeting will take place at the Coos Canyon Schoolhouse. Selectmen called for the meeting following an information session last week that included presentations by Mexico Fire Chief Gary Wentzell and Mexico Dep. Chief Richard Jones about contracting services.
Byron's fire chief, Bob Susbury, has resigned, effective Dec. 1.
Wentzell explained the Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) requirements and showed the training records and even though they've corrected a lot, there is no one who can go to a fire scene. "Two or three of them have the training to due traffic control, but that's about it."
He said some 18 people attended the information session, most of them being members of the call force.
"They were very receptive, very positive."
Wentzell said volunteer firefighters are not paid in Byron. "They wonder why they have to go through the BLS requirements. A couple said they are not going through it."
He noted that at the present time, because Byron is not in compliance, the truck is not at use at this time.
"We will be going out on every call until this is resolved."
The proposal is to contract with Mexico and/or Roxbury for 10 years. Wentzell said the cost will be at zero cost in exchange for use of their fire truck, purchased new in 2005 from a grant from Department of Homeland Security. The cost without the truck would be between $5,000 and $7,000 per year.
He noted that having the Byron tanker truck would help Mexico also because since 1979, Mexico has purchased only one new truck. Later on, they purchased two used trucks. However, having the Byron will lesson the need of Mexico to need to purchase two more trucks in some five to seven years.
Wentzell said the distance between the Mexico and Byron fire stations is 13.6 miles. The departure on a call would be almost immediate and normal driving would take about 17 minutes.
Over the last five years, Byron has averaged 12 calls a year. "There's an ATV corridor through there.
Half of those calls are ATV or snowmobile calls that we go to anyway with out rescue sled."
Mexico Town Manager John Madigan said he will ask the Maine Municipal Association is they would need to call a special town meeting or if the Board of Selectmen have the authority to contract with another town.