The Paris Fire Station on Western Avenue. Jon Bolduc/ Sun Journal.

PARIS — After the news of a mass resignation at the Paris Fire Department Wednesday, many community members expressed concerns that the force would be less equipped to respond to emergencies.

“Yes, we’re all very concerned,” resident Kevin Pouliot wrote in a Facebook message Thursday. “We were very happy with our decision to disband the full-time force and switch to volunteers. It’s worked better than expected.

“Now, because of some office squabbles, my neighbors are less protected,” Pouliot wrote. “There’s a TV news crew at the station, and this is ending up being another black mark against our town. Bottom line is that my concern is the safety of my neighbors, whether real or perceived. This is scaring many of them unnecessarily.”

Jason Powers of Oxford said the mass resignation likely wasn’t the fault of the Fire Department, and expressed hope that the resigned firefighters would come back.

“When 18 volunteers up and quit all at once, that tells me they weren’t the problem,” he wrote on Facebook. “Maybe if we can figure out where the problem is and fix it, they’ll come back?”

But, according to Norway Fire Department Chief Dennis Yates, mutual aid provides adequate protection from emergencies, even in the absence of a Fire Department.


“It wouldn’t make much difference,” Yates said. “When we have a structure fire, we always call Norway, Paris, and Oxford, and West Paris to begin with. If we have to, we’ll call Waterford, Harrison and Bridgton. It’s not going to affect the way that we fight fires.”

“If you think about it, the biggest fire in Paris was the warehouse fire,” he said. “There were 54 different departments there. If we’re shorthanded, we just continue to keep calling departments, one right after the other. We’ve got Hebron, we’ve got Minot. We can call Buckfield, Turner, it’s really not a concern.

“I’m sure people are nervous about it, but there’s really nothing to be nervous about. We’ll do what we have to do to alleviate the situation,” Yates said.


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