South Deerfield Chief supports merger in future

SOUTH DEERFIELD — South Deerfield Fire Chief William Swasey is a firm believer that someday in the future the town will be served by one full-time fire department.

“Each year, expectations and requirements continue to grow and interest and recruitment in the fire service continues to decline,” Swasey said. “I am a firm believer that the fire service in the town of Deerfield will be staffed with full-time firefighters and supported with a dedicated call force in the near future.”

At that time, Swasey added, “I would also like to see the ambulance service come back to Deerfield.”

The sentiment is shared by other Deerfield town and fire officials.

The town is served by two fire districts, in Old Deerfield and South Deerfield.

The future of the Old Deerfield Fire District and potential of a consolidation was raised by Deerfield nonprofits — Deerfield Academy, Eaglebrook School, Bement School and Historic Deerfield — recently when they agreed to pay $80,000 over 10 years for a new fire truck.

If, down the road, the fire districts merge, Swasey believed that two fire stations would still be required.

He said further study would need to take place to see if there is the possibility of reducing the number of trucks the two current departments have. In addition, Swasey said the financial responsibility of each district and the nonprofits will need to be addressed to make sure that it is equitable for all parties.

Old Deerfield Fire Chief Chet Yazwinski declined to comment, referring questions to the prudential committee, which its members have said they would support a merger in the future.

“I would hope that the two prudential committees could come together and have a conversation,” Old Deerfield Prudential Committee member Patricia Kelly recently said.

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DEERFIELD — From the look of their individual fire houses, the Old Deerfield and South Deerfield fire departments look a world apart. The Old Deerfield fire house is a 65-year-old barn building on Old Main Street that houses four trucks, while the South Deerfield fire station is a modern 21-year-old building housing seven trucks. The two fire districts’ operations, training … 0

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