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Vt. town suspends FD after interim chief, firefighters quit

Putney residents blamed the crisis in the fire department on poor communication and a lack of respect for the members

By Bill Carey

PUTNEY, Vt. — Putney town officials voted to temporarily suspend the operations of the Putney Fire Department after 12 members and interim Fire Chief Evan Martin quit.

The mass resignation, which left only a handful of volunteers, happened on April 2 after the department met with Town Manager Karen Astley, the Brattleboro Reformer reported.

Putney officials have been struggling with fire department issues for several months and had commissioned a study by a consulting firm, which delivered a report critical of how the fire chief’s job was structured.

Two weeks after officials received the report, Thomas Goddard — the Putney fire chief who also serves as the town’s health officer, emergency management director and 911 coordinator — announced he would retire, VTDigger reported.

Neither members of the Putney Select Board, the town manager or members of the fire department provided specific details on the issues that led to the suspension.

Residents blamed the crisis in the department on poor communication and a lack of respect for the members.

Firefighters from Brattleboro, Dummerston and Westminster will be responding to fires in Putney while the town’s EMTs will work under Rescue Inc.

Putney FD Operations Analysis by FireRescue1 on Scribd