Fire Chief Christopher Bright appeared at the Council’s Legislative Affairs Subcommittee meeting Monday nights a part of the Fiscal ’23 budget discussions.
Bright wore a mask at the meeting, stating that he is recovering from a bout with COVID-19.
Bright began his presentation by announcing that two new fire engines are on order and expected to be in operation by the end of the summer.
“We really need them,” said Bright, noting that a new fire command car has just been put into service.
The chief said his entire staff “has been incredible” in its successful grant-writing efforts with federal and state agencies. “We’re anticipating the delivery of a high-water rescue vehicle by the wintertime.”
Bright noted that the RFD has hired eight new firefighters in the past year, six of whom were fully trained at the fire academy and on duty, and two who are currently attending the academy. There has been a grant submitted for 17 firefighters to man the new Point of Pines Fire Station.
The department will increase its overall personnel to 120 firefighters. “The city is growing out [in population] and we’ve been trying to anticipate that growth and up our personnel as necessary to plan for that,” said Bright, who also intends to add a civilian mechanic to the department.
Bright also said he would like to ultimately replace the Engine 5 station on Freeman Street, which is more than 100 years old.
Council President Gerry Visconti asked about the new Point of Pines Fire Station that is expected to be completed in the coming 12 months.
“The plan for the Point of Pines Fire Station, when it originally opens, will be to run Engine 2 out of there, have a bay that has a capacity for a ladder truck – and there is a third bay for water rescue. We’ll have our watercraft down there.”