Warwick voters approve new fire engine by 79-73 vote

Residents vote in Warwick Town Hall on Monday.

Residents vote in Warwick Town Hall on Monday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Warwick resident Brian Gale is checked in to vote in Warwick Town Hall by Gloria Varno and Dawn Magi while Constable George Day waits to tally his ballot on Monday.

Warwick resident Brian Gale is checked in to vote in Warwick Town Hall by Gloria Varno and Dawn Magi while Constable George Day waits to tally his ballot on Monday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Warwick Town Hall.

Warwick Town Hall. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

By MAX BOWEN

Athol Daily News Editor

Published: 05-21-2024 3:15 PM

Modified: 05-21-2024 6:35 PM


WARWICK — An effort to replace a 35-year-old fire engine that has been carried by several of the town’s fire chiefs has finally borne fruit.

By just six votes, residents at Monday’s town election approved a ballot question for a $480,000 Proposition 2½ override to purchase a new fire engine. This amount will supplement a $200,000 transfer from the town’s stabilization fund. The engine will be purchased through a five-year loan, which will result in taxes being raised by $80 to $100 per year over that period.

Monday’s vote was 79-73. Fire Chief Joe Larson said the department is “in shock” since hearing the news.

“People want to go drive in the truck,” he said on Tuesday. “Overall, it helps with all the categories — morale, retention and recruitment.”

Larson said the older vehicle, a 1989 GMC E-One, has numerous mechanical problems, one of which being it struggles on hills. The vehicle also needs new brakes, a radiator and tires, Larson said. The truck has a manual transmission, which the chief said is one more thing to train his volunteer firefighters to do. He also mentioned the National Fire Protection Association recommends vehicles be replaced after 25 years.

Larson added that even the larger towns and cities have older fire engines.

“They’re big price tags to pay,” he said.

The new vehicle, which will have an E-One body on a Spartan chassis, will be built by Greenwood Emergency Vehicles of North Attleborough, and Larson said it will have more room for equipment.

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“The truck’s been needed for a long time,” Larson said. “The taxpayers gave us the ability; this has been a dream of the department.”

The Warwick Fire Department has four vehicles — two engines, an all-purpose vehicle called a “squad” and a brush tanker that can maneuver through the forests. Larson said there is another engine that is 36 years old, but in better shape than the one being replaced, that he hopes to retire in the near future. He added that the town has a Capital Planning Committee, and the new fire engine is a pillar of the work it will do.

“Thank you to the taxpayers for supporting us,” Larson said.

Of the town’s 681 registered voters, 153 voters made it to the polls, making for a 22.5% turnout. There were no contested races in the election. The results are as follows:

■Selectboard, three-year term — Alan Genovese, 125 votes.

■Assessor, three-year term — Keith Ross, 133 votes.

■Board of Health, three-year term — Ann Kendall, 135 votes.

■Constable, three-year term — Bruce Kilhart, 126 votes.

■Library trustee, two-year term — Jesse Lopes, 129 votes.

■Library trustees, two seats with three-year terms — Andrea Woods, 135 votes, and Cheri Robartes, 124 votes.

■Moderator, one-year term — Jim McRae, 129 votes.

■Tree warden, three-year term — Sharon Matthews, 117 votes.

■Transfer Station commissioner, three-year term — Mike Mankowsky, 139 votes.

■Highway commissioner, three-year term — Vern Bass, 131 votes.

■Cemetery commissioner, two-year term — Coco King, 132 votes.

■Cemetery commissioner, three-year term — John Cassinari, 132 votes.

■School Committee member, one-year term — Janice Starmer, 130 votes.

■School Committee member, two-year term — Miranda Kingfisher, 124 votes.

■School Committee member, three-year term — Alan Genovese, 122 votes.