NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 5, 2013

Fire engineer board vacancy filled, but comes with controversy

(Continued)

The vote to dismiss the 3 veterans firefighters was unanimous and the selectmen serving in 2009 are the same people who are on the board today.

At the time Janes said he was raising the issue because he was concerned about the liability the town might face should a firefighter over 65 get injured or die in the line of duty. In his letter to selectmen this week he said he understands that if appointed as a fire engineer he would not be allowed to serve as an active member of the fire department.

But Knowles maintained on Wednesday that a fire engineer is statutorily responsible to respond to fire calls “wearing a badge and taking charge of the scene” -- something Janes could not do because he is no longer an active fire fighter.

In the end when Knowles abstained from voting on Kemper’s motion to add Fowler and Janes to the board, he stressed that his abstention was not a reflection of his personal feelings about the candidates.

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