REPORT OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT

I am pleased to submit the 122nd annual report of your Fire Department.

Fire-Rescue & Emergency Services responded to a total of 2912 incidents. Of the total
calls, 1631 were for emergency medical incidents of which 1046 resulted in
transportation to the hospital. A total of 57 structure fires, 14 vehicle fires and 19
outside fires were extinguished over the year. We responded to 23 carbon monoxide
incidents with 17 warranting further actions. We also responded to 173 hazardous
materials incidents with the Massachusetts Hazardous Materials Response Team
responding to 1 of these incidents. A total of 872 fire prevention and life safety
inspections were completed, 2129 burning permits issued and a total of 1058
regulatory permits were issued. Over the year the department also responded to three
incidents involving vehicles in the right of way of the commuter rail line. Although these
ended with no serious injuries I cannot express the importance of using extreme
caution whether driving or walking in the area of our seven grade crossings.

I am very sad to report two fire deaths in town, our first fire deaths in our town in over
ten years. On Monday morning, January 12th around 7:00 A.M. we received a
telephone call for a house fire on Highland Road. Upon arrival of the first apparatus
from the Bedford Street fire station with Firefighters Donald Leary, and Donald Farrell
under the command of Captain John Nuttall were notified of a person trapped on the
second floor of this dwelling. Captain Nuttall entered the rapidly deteriorating second
floor and found the homeowner on the second floor landing unable to escape on his
own. Captain Nuttall brought the homeowner down the stairs by where he was moved
outside of the house suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. Through the efforts of
the first arriving fire-fighting personnel this gentleman was transported to a local
hospital where he was an in-patient until he unfortunately passed away in late
February. The second fatal fire was in July, the result of a vehicle fire in that took the
life a 45-year-old man from Abington. Our thoughts and prayers to this day are with
these families who have lost their loved ones.

In early March we hired a new Firefighter/EMT/Paramedic Shawn Hardy from Avon and
after 13 weeks of recruit training and orientation Shawn was assigned to Group #1.
This brings the department up to 9 Paramedics. Welcome, Shawn. In November our
newest employee, Brian Fogg from Middleboro was assigned to the Massachusetts
Firefighting Academy for 11 weeks of recruit training. Brian will bring our department up
to 11 paramedics. In mid February he will graduate and after orientation will be
assigned to a work group. Welcome, Brian.

Early in June we were notified that 19-year veteran Firefighter/EMT John Force had
completed all of the requirements for him to become our tenth Paramedic.
Congratulations John, your commitment to the department will go far towards our ability
to provide the very best in emergency medical advanced life support services to those
in need. Congratulations, John.

Our 1996 Central States pumper that is at the Rockland Street station has had
numerous issues with the motor. This truck was repaired a number of times for a
number of issues by the town's mechanics and finally due to additional needs was sent
to Cummins Diesel in Dedham for some major repairs. This has impacted our budget
dramatically and a heads up was provided to the Finance Committee.

Over the past Winter Town Mechanic Jack Caine and crew removed the ambulance
box off of the donated 1991 NAVY Ambulance and gave the cab it a fresh paint job. We
acquired a used utility body and a used water tank and pump for this vehicle and it is
now assigned forest fire duties. The 1979 Forest Fire Truck will be used a service
truck, with these changes saving the town well over $ 145,000.00. I want to thank Jack
Caine for his expertise and efforts to make this difficult project come together we are
very fortunate to have the caliber of personnel maintaining and working on our vehicles.

Through a State Grant we received two semi-automatic defibrillators. We applied
through a Federal Grant to finish the point source diesel exhaust system that was
started at station one although we have yet to hear if we were successful we will also
request the funding to complete this project in the Capitol Plan.

Over the past year we had been working diligently towards finding an answer to our
emergency communications needs. The fire stations are still empty over 400 times a
year due to the lack of on duty personnel and the layoffs of our civilian dispatchers last
year. This means that there is a very distinct possibility that a request for emergency
services could be made to the department and there would be no one there to take
your request to send assistance. We have had numerous discussions with the
Plymouth County Sheriff's Department while looking at the logistics and associated
costs of a "County Dispatch" idea. At the December 6th Special Town Meeting our
townspeople voted $41,370.00 for the subscription, equipment and per call costs of
this program. Thank You

On December 8th five of our personnel were recipients of awards for their actions at
fire scenes over the past year. Captain John Weckbacher, Captain John Nuttall,
Firefighter Donald Leary, Firefighter/EMT/P Richard Smith and Firefighter/EMT/P
Christa Larkin were awarded citations of merit for the rescue of an 89 year old woman
out of a third floor window over the aerial ladder on the morning of December 28, 2003.
Captain John Nuttall was also awarded the medal of valor for his actions at the January
12th Highland Road Fire. The recognition of these members of our department proves
that we have some of the best firefighters in the commonwealth. Congratulations to
those members of the department and to all members of the department who worked
these fires.

Our original 1976 Hurst Tool "Jaws of Life" has been placed out of service due to the
hydraulic pump unit failure. The are no replacement parts available for this 28 year old
unit and we will be seeking a new set of "Jaws of Life" at the annual town meeting.

A number of budget requests will be submitted in the spring to get us back to a level of
service that includes the reinstatement of the Dive Team, Technical Rescue Team,
Entry Team (Medic for the Police Dept), Student Awareness of Fire Education "SAFE"
Program, Juvenile Firesetter's Program and the Call Firefighter force. Again, these
programs are for you and your safety, which were eliminated two years ago when
budget cuts were made. We have also experienced an incredible amount of new
residential building growth over the past few years. These projects represent countless
hours of inspections and preparations for this department and with the sharp increase
of population along with the expanse in response distances we will need to address
additional personnel needs for the department in the very near future to cover calls for
services.

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.

Respectfully submitted,

Malcolm B. Whiting Chief of Department
Previous Page
Back to Top
Fire Department Annual Report
Veterans Memorial
Town Library
Our Town:
Abington
Massachusetts
Town Offices
Town Hall
781.982.2100