Medway Fire Chief Jon Buckingham has resigned in response to the town’s failure to replace a firetruck that he says is unsafe.
The fire department’s front-line pumper-tanker, a 1988 Pierce, has had repairs to its electrical and steering systems, has body rust and and lost its transmission during pump tests. Buckingham said the truck should be replaced with a new or used truck.
“We had several meetings on it and after having the meetings, I have come to the conclusion that the town and I are on two different pages when it comes to the safety of the apparatus and our crews,” Buckingham said Monday.
Board of Selectman Chairman Bruce Jones expressed regret at Buckingham’s resignation, which Buckingham announced in a letter dated Nov. 6, but said that selectmen are inclined to follow the direction of townspeople.
Voters rejected spending $450,000 on a new firetruck during a special town meeting on Sept. 26. A motion to spend $300,000 was also rejected, according to town meeting minutes.
Several residents, including Selectman John Lee, a former town fire chief, said they believed the town could not support buying a new or used vehicle.
Instead, residents approved spending $20,000 to repair the truck, the minutes state.
The truck’s supposedly being unsafe “is just his feeling and I really can’t say much more on it, other than it [the truck] is out being repaired right now,” Jones said Monday, adding that the resignation “came unexpected and we accept it with regret.”
“He’s done absolutely great for us. I really have no complaints about his service,” he added.
The town has spent more than $70,000 in repairs on the truck over the last three years, said Buckingham, who became chief four years ago and is also an on-call firefighter for Millinocket.
A used truck could be acquired for as little as $100,000 and would likely be far more reliable than the Pierce, Buckingham said.
Buckingham said he is grateful for the many townspeople who have expressed support for him and his stance on the need for truck replacement.