Towns agree to share fire chief

  • Charlemont Town Hall. June 15, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 2/8/2019 11:56:06 PM

Charlemont and Rowe are set to share a fire chief. 

The selectboards of both towns voted this month to support sharing Dennis Annear as fire chief. The agreement lasts one year. 

“We’ll see how it goes,” Annear said. 

Annear currently serves as Charlemont’s part-time fire chief. He will now work for both towns part-time, eight hours a week, receiving a stipend for his work. Annear said he will spend Tuesdays in Charlemont’s fire department and Wednesdays and Thursdays at Rowe’s department. The remainder of his time will be spent doing paperwork and at town meetings, he said. 

Rowe’s current fire chief, Brandon Sprague, will become Rowe’s deputy fire chief, Annear said. Sprague is stepping down as his full-time job does not allow for the responsibilities required of a chief. Rowe’s current deputy fire chief, Brad Furlon, will step down from the job, Sokol said. 

Charlemont and Rowe each have separate employment agreements with Annear. Expenses such as automobile and telephone costs are to be divided equally between the two towns. 

Several other Franklin County towns already share fire chiefs, including Wendell and New Salem. 

“This isn’t a new idea,” Annear said.

Rowe Selectboard Member Chuck Sokol said consolidating fire departments may improve the efficiency of fire services for both towns.

“Because we are a remote community, most of our firefighters are part time and work other jobs elsewhere, Sokol said. “Sharing resources, equipment, etcetera, can provide more consistent and better coverage.”

The effort to consolidate the two towns’ fire services follows the resignation of Charlemont Fire Chief Doug Annear in late 2017. Before he resigned, Doug Annear said Charlemont’s fire department lacked adequate resources, according to minutes from a Selectboard meeting Sept. 19, 2017. 

Reach Grace Bird at: gbird@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 280




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