Firefighters honored for work at hospital fire


FARMINGTON — Area firefighters and others were shown appreciation Monday for their efforts to contain a fire at Franklin Memorial Hospital’s Medical Arts Building on January 30.

“We don’t appreciate all that you do till we need you,” said FMH President and Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Ryder during a reception and program held in the Bass Room at the hospital. “We’re here to honor all of you who responded in our time of need.”

The first alarm on that chilly Saturday morning at 5:57 a.m. brought Farmington, Wilton, Jay and Temple to the scene of the attic fire in the two-year-old building. A second alarm brought New Sharon, Chesterville and Temple with air packs and Vienna fire department on standby, she said.

Perhaps the best phrase to describe the firefighters work are the words of Winston Churchill, “Never have so many owed so much to so few,” said Doug Walrath, former board chairman.

Walrath, mentioning his own firefighting experience, continued to thank the firefighters for not only standing on that hot roof fighting the fire below but also working inside to cover computers and minimize water damage, “the things no one sees,” he said.

For the New Sharon crew of seven, who came to help that day working mostly on salvaging items in the building, “it was pretty much routine,” said Capt. Eric Webster.


It doesn’t matter what department, they all work together. Help from area fire departments was crucial. “We couldn’t have done it without you,” Farmington Fire Chief Terry Bell told the audience filled with rescue personnel.

“Mutual aid is the best thing in Franklin County. We all work well together and train together,” said Chief George Blodgett from the Temple department.

Along with firefighters, Farmington Police and emergency personnel from NorthStar who were on scene during the fire were also thanked. Hospital staff whose efforts allowed the west wing and lobby of the building to reopen within six days were remembered.

“No one was hurt and that’s all that really matters,” said Dr. Jay Naliboff, who also noted the efforts to minimize damage. “Working with a fire above you and you’re worried about covering computer terminals. I have incredible admiration for you guys.”

State legislators Tom Saviello, Lance Harvell and Walter Gooley shared a public appreciation bringing the department representatives onto the stage for a letter presentation.

Prior to the spoken words, the Franklin County Fiddlers performed while overhead scenes from the fire were projected on to a large screen above their heads.

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Representing some of the departments from left is Temple Chief George Blodgett, New Sharon Captain Eric Webster,Wilton Chief Sonny Dunham, Chesterville Chief Bob Hastings and Farmington Chief Terry Bell.