Firefighters not safe under new chief, current and former FD members say
Former and current Shapleigh firefighters called for the removal of the chief at a meeting last week citing numerous safety concerns
By Laura French
SHAPLEIGH, Maine — Former and current members of a Maine fire department say the new fire chief is putting firefighters' lives in danger and called for his removal at a recent town meeting.
Shapleigh Fire Department Chief Kevin Romano was hired on Jan. 1, leading former Shapleigh Firefighter Michael Sabine to immediately quit, according to NEWS CENTER Maine.
"I'm afraid someone's going to die," Sabine told NEWS CENTER. "I'm sad to go, but I can't be involved in this. I've had too many friends die in the service."
Sabine was one of the department members who brought concerns about the new chief to the town's board of selectmen, and called for an external investigation. He told town leaders at a meeting on Tuesday that the culture at the department is that "safety is not a concern," according to WGME.
Sabine said there are currently firefighters at the department who have no gear. Former Assistant Chief Charles Starbird also said that there is currently no two in two out policy being enforced at fires and that he was demoted by Romano without being given a reason.
Select Board Chairwoman Jennifer Roux said she was unaware of the concerns and that the board would begin investigating immediately. The board voted to keep Romano in his position for another 45 days in the meantime, as his initial 60-day contract was nearing expiration.
- Fire Chief