MEXICO – Fire Chief Gary Wentzell told selectmen Wednesday night that he will decide whether to lead neighboring Rumford’s Fire Department next week. If he should decide to head both departments, he said the plan will go into effect the week of Aug. 4.

“I’m still not convinced. Everyday I find things out and I’m not convinced there will be flexibility or a healing process over there,” he said.

He said he has met with both fire departments and town managers, and will continue to meet with other factions involved in the possible new administration of both departments. He emphasized that the departments would remain separate, and any call force members would decide which department they’ll serve.

Selectmen from both towns approved asking Wentzell if he would be Rumford’s fire chief as well as Mexico’s, where he has served for years.

Rumford Fire Department Deputy Chief Richard Coulombe is serving as interim chief now. That appointment followed former Chief John Woulfe leaving for a fire service administrative position in Washington, D.C., a couple of months ago.

If Wentzell takes the Rumford position, he said he would likely work two or three days a week in Rumford once issues are ironed out.

Wentzell said one of the biggest issues facing both towns is the number of abandoned or unsafe buildings.

Mexico selectmen later in the meeting granted approval to Wentzell to send letters to four owners asking them to secure their buildings.

If steps haven’t been taken within 30 days, the town will board up the buildings then bill the property owners.

Woulfe began an inventory of abandoned or unsafe buildings in Rumford before he left.

In other matters, selectmen granted Matthew Bean of Andover a taxi cab license for his business, Mountain Valley Taxi Service. His enterprise becomes the second taxi service in Mexico.

He said the company will employ three drivers, to start, and three vehicles. The office is at 28 Main St., at the rear of the laundry building, and will operate seven days a week.


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