Maine Fire Chief Under Review After Using Town Truck to Fill His Swimming Pool
According to the Kennebec Journal, a Maine fire chief is under review following multiple instances of reported misuse of town fire trucks.
The Kennebec Journal reports that Unity Fire Chief, Blaine Parsons, in under review for recent conduct after complaints that the chief took the town's ladder truck to a neighboring town for an Independence Day parade and that he used one of the tanker trucks to fill his swimming pool.
Unity Board of Selectmen say that previously, the Fire Chief had agreed not to bring the ladder truck to the town of Brooks for the parade due to the increasing cost of diesel fuel. He was asked by the town board to bring a smaller truck to the parade.
Chief Parsons reportedly said after the parade that the town is proud of its fire truck fleet and wanted to display the ladder truck at the parade. Chief Parsons also said that a town policy does in fact require the town's firefighters to spend a certain amount of time driving and operating the fire trucks. He indicated that it matters not if the training hours are accrued during a 4th of July parade or 'on the back roads of Unity'.
The KJ reports that much of the Board's concern with the entire situation is that much of the town's annual fire department budget had already been spent. The KJ says the board was concerned about the increasing cost of diesel fuel and how much it would cost to take the ladder truck to another community for a parade.
In another instance, a townsperson reported seeing one of the Unity fire trucks at a residence near Unity Plantation. The complainant said that it appeared the truck was being used to fill a swimming pool. Chief Parsons said there were three firefighters that were using the truck for training, but did admit that the pool that was being filled was his.
The Kennebec Journal article goes on to say that in a third instance, a person in the town reported seeing one of the fire trucks at a private residence on Depot Street and that the ladder truck appeared to be being used to work on the upper level of a home. Chief Parsons told the town he was away that day but a couple of firefighters were doing some training. However, one of the firefighters at that training owned the house. Slectmen indicated that in addition to fuel, insurance liability is also a concern with these types of things as well.
The KJ said that the Unity Selectboard had not decided whether or not they would take disciplinary action against the chief, or if the town would just implement a new policy surrounding truck use and parades.
We will keep this story updated as more information becomes available to us.