REPORT OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT

I am pleased to submit the 123rd Annual Report of your Firer Rescue & Emergency
Services.

The fire department has just completed another record-breaking year by responding
to a total of 3226 incidents. Of the total calls, 1710 were for emergency medical
incidents of which 1056 resulted in transportation to a local hospital. A total of 52
structure fires, 10 vehicle fires and 26 outside fires were extinguished over the year.
We supplied mutual aid 226 times to our surrounding neighbors. We responded to 38
carbon monoxide incidents. We responded to 220 hazardous materials incidents and
the Massachusetts Hazardous Materials Response Team responded to 2 of these
incidents with us. A total of 1150 fire prevention and life safety inspections were
completed, 2140 burning permits issued and a total of 822 regulatory permits were
issued.

Through a Department of Public Safety Grant we received funding for two Dura-
Tab tablet computers for mobile incident command and inspectional activities. We
received funds through a Federal Grant to finish the diesel exhaust system that was
started at Station One. The Capital Plan supplemented that funding.

Our manpower needs are an ongoing concern. The attempt last year to move our
emergency dispatch to the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department did not come to
fruition due to changes in that department. In addition, we are in need of on-duty
personnel to Handle the ever-growing calls for service. Last year we applied for, but
were unsuccessful in securing, Federal funding of personnel through the SAFER grant
program. We will continue to pursue this avenue as well as other means of addressing
the manpower, dispatch and operational issues.

At the November Special Town Meeting through the Capital Plan we received funding
to replace our original 1976 Hurst Tool "Jaws of Life". This is an important and
much relied upon piece of equipment and will be ordered and in service in the near
future. Also through the Capital Plan we received funding for computerized ambulance
reporting.  This software and hardware will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
the documentation of our emergency medical services.

On Christmas Eve we had a relatively minor but very important fire from which many
lessons can be learned. The building was a twelve-unit condo that had been designed
with both sprinkler and alarm systems. The homeowner had gone to bed after leaving
candles burning on the mantel. There was a balsam wreath affixed to the mirror above
them. One of the candles collapsed and spread fire across the mantel and up along
the side of the mirror igniting the wreath. As the fire grew the alarm system and
sprinklers activated and automatically notified the fire department and awakened the
homeowner. The sprinkler system put the fire out and the fire department assisted by
shutting down the sprinkler system and alarms. This incident highlights the dangers of
candles, among them leaving lit candles unattended. It also demonstrates the danger
of using combustible holiday decorations and the importance of built-in fire sprinkler
and alarm systems tied directly to the fire department.

The year ended with the retirement of Malcolm B. Whiting, Chief of Department.
After 35 years of service to the town Malcolm ended a long and distinguished career
and multi-generational tradition. He started his career as a Call Firefighter in 1970 and
after passing the required entrance exam was appointed to the full time department in
1974. He worked his way up through the ranks by passing required promotional exams
and was promoted to Captain in 1984 and then to Deputy Chief in 1992. Having
passed the Chief's Exam he was promoted to Chief of Department in 1996. During his
tenure as Chief he was instrumental in moving this department forward by instituting
Advanced Life Support Ambulance Service to the townspeople of Abington. This
enhancement in of itself has greatly increased the quality of life to the citizens of
Abington. In 1996 working with the then Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Roger
Woods, they were able to put forward a town by-law requiring carbon monoxide
detectors in residential occupancies. At that time Abington was the only town in
Massachusetts to have such a by-law. Now, ten years later, it is a state law. He was
also progressive in starting a program of apparatus replacement to insure that the
tools defining our service delivery are state-of-the-art and meet the needs of the
department. Over the years he was able to successfully apply for and obtain grant
funding for numerous programs and equipment: programs for Student Awareness of
Fire Education, semi-automatic defibrillators, diesel exhaust systems and Self
Contained Breathing Apparatus upgrades. He also established an equipment testing
and certification program for apparatus and equipment to insure a level of safety of
operations. The department's training and participation with the Plymouth County
Technical Rescue and Dive teams were also started and grew during this time. I want
to personally thank Malcolm for his years of dedication, service and guidance and wish
him and his wife Pamela all the best in retirement.

I would like to thank Phillip L. Warren Jr., Town Manager for his invaluable assistance
and guidance. I would also like to thank the department heads and inspectors who
assist us in providing superior service to the townspeople.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to each and every member of
this department who continue to provide you with the very best in Fire-Rescue and
Emergency Services. Their dedication, ongoing training and advancement of their
education give you, the townspeople, the highest level of service you deserve.

                                             Respectfully submitted,

                                             Arthur H. Pelland,
                                             Acting Chief of Department

Members of Abington Fire-Rescue & Emergency Services:
Arthur H. Pelland, Acting Chief/EMT
Patricia Gordon, Administrative Assistant

David Farrell, Captain/EMT
John Weckbacher, Captain/EMT/I
Edward Belcher, Captain/EMT
John Nuttall, Captain/EMT/I
Charles Whitman Jr., Firefighter
Donald Leary, Firefighter
Michael Murphy, Firefighter/EMT/I
Michael Driscoll, Firefighter/EMT/P
Ronald Howe, Firefighter/EMT/P
John Force, Firefightef/EMT/P
Robert Neumeister, Firefighter/EMT/I
Donald Farrell, Firefighter/EMT/I
John Glynn, Firefighter/EMT/P
Kevin Finch, Firefighter/EMT/P
Donald DiDomenico, Firefighter/EMT/P
Richard Smith, Firefighter/EMT/P
George Gardiner, Firefighter/EMT/P
Christa Prescott, Firefighter/EMT/
Shawn Hardy, Firefighter/EMT/P
Brian Fogg, Firefighter/EMT/P
Back to Top
Previous Page
Fire Department 2005 Annual Report
Veterans Memorial
Town Library
Our Town:
Abington
Massachusetts
Town Offices
Town Hall
781.982.2100