COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) The Colchester Fire Department has a new chief.
Stephen Bourgeois will take over as chief following an announcement last week about the merger of the fire departments that serve the town.
The new combined department brings together the Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Company, Malletts Bay Fire Department and St. Michael's College Fire and Rescue.
Town leaders say the consolidation will help the community and improve response time by filling a gap in daytime coverage.
Under the merger, there will be three paid firefighters alongside the volunteers and the Colchester Selectboard will continue to pay for the services.
"There's a lot of stuff that has to happen behind the scenes," Colchester Fire Chief Stephen Bourgeois said. "We're going from two departments to one department, centralizing records management, programs, emergency response programs, dispatch issues. It's a big step for the town of Colchester and I'm looking forward to getting started on it."
Bourgeois says there's still a lot of work to do before the merger becomes official on July 1.