Colchester Fire Dept. confronts town about staffing shortages

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 10:21 PM EDT
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - Dozens of Colchester firefighters and community members met Tuesday to voice their concerns about the fire department’s staffing issues.

The Colchester Fire Department has been trying to fill vacancies in its current roster and add more firefighters to its ranks to provide better service to the town.

In a statement released a week ago, the department said that the town manager was preventing them from adding any new hires.

The meeting served as a way for the public and the department to communicate their concerns to the town‘s select board.

“We had no other choice but to make this a public issue because we decided that the townspeople should know what kind of crisis the fire department staffing was,” said Tyler Cootware, the president of the Colchester Career Firefighters Association.

Some folks suggested having an independent third party come in to evaluate the needs of the department and advise the town on its next steps.

The town did not respond to our requests for comment.