Fire District No. 1 to regain on-site fuel

Jan 10, 2019

Fire District No. 1 will once again have access to gasoline on site after a heated conflict between the district’s Prudential Committee and fire chief.

At the Prudential Committee’s Jan. 9 meeting, Prudential Committee Chairman John Haran agreed to drop the proposal, which would have banned the use of the district’s on-site 1,000 gallon state-licensed gas tank for refueling the district's emergency vehicles and equipment like snow blowers, boats, and jaws of life.

Instead, equipment would have needed to be refueled at the Department of Public Works yard some three miles away from the station.

At the time, the district was filling up at a local service station because the Committee had prevented the district from ordering fuel.

Chief Brad Ellis said that driving to the DPW yard to fill up did not make fiscal sense, and additionally, could put people at risk, especially during severe weather events.

Bridge closures or flooding of the Paskamansett Brook would drastically increase the distance the department would have to travel for fuel, Ellis said, which is necessary for tasks like snowblowing a driveway so ambulance crews can reach a snowed-in patient.

The arrangement would have required Select Board approval. Haran, who also serves on the Select  Board, presented the idea at a meeting last year. Other board members expressed dismay at the conflict and the complicated policies governing the town’s three fire districts, which are separate entities from the town with separate funding.

At a subsequent Select Board meeting, Haran agreed to take the idea off the table.