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South Fire Station Is Set To Re-open ... Sort Of

Concerns regarding budget and staffing will limit the operation of the station house for the foreseeable future.

will be open again soon. However, it won't be open with nearly as much frequency as South Tewksbury residents would like.

The station, one of three in the town, has been closed since mid-March due to budget constraints. At the time,

With the six-month mark just around the corner, said the station will re-open in the coming weeks but not on a full-time basis.

"Due to fiscal restraints we will be opening the South Station on a staffing availability basis," said Hazel. "In other words, if we have enough members on duty on a given day or night shift we will open the station.

"If we do not  have enough members on duty due to contractually obligated or other time off reasons we will close the South Station and not expend money from our coverage account."

In the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget The Fire Department's operating budget was cut by $52,099, from $287,480 to $235,044. The total FY '12 budget for the department, including salaries, is $4,285,697.

Hazel said all three stations would also be open in cases of emergency and natural disasters.

The made clear that he is neither content, nor happy with the current situation but that his department must do the best it can with the resources available.

"I truly believe the community needs three fully functional fire stations, unfortunately, funding is not currently available to make that happen for our department," he said. "We are working to provide the best possible service to the residents of Tewksbury given our present funding situation."

South Station be opened on a limited basis as soon as three newly hired firefighters are trained and ready to take on shifts.

During the times that South Station is closed, South Tewksbury will continue to be covered by units from the Central and North Stations. Hazel said his coverage account is present about 50 percent of what is needed to fully staff the three stations. He said that despite limited resources, he will do whatever is needed to maintain the safety of residents.

"Should our staffing fall below a predetermined safe level we will hire firefighters as needed to provide a minimum level of protection for firefighter and community safety," he said.

When all three stations are open, there are 12 firefighters on per shift. With three new hires, there are 51 employees in the department, including the chief and the department secretary. This is down from a high of 59 employees in the 1990s.

Though the operating budget has been trimmed, the department has been able to make necessary upgrades to its vehicle fleet recently. In 2010, voters approved a new engine (replacing a 26-year-old vehicle) and this year, approved replacing one of the town's two ambulances.

Amy W September 14, 2011 at 12:19 PM
Thank you Karyn for that information because that is helpful to know. As relatively new to town I did not even know there was a "silly North vs. South" issue? I guess my point is with that railroad where it is then there should be a North station but then why not have South Station open full-time with the Center part-time? I'm just concerned it gives the residents of S. Tewksbury a bad impression that their emergency services access is negotiable.
RESIDENT OF SOUTH TEWKSBURY September 15, 2011 at 04:46 PM
I am disguted with how things work in this town! Tewksbury needs these fire stations OPEN ALL YEAR LONG. I understand the train tracks and the image of having the Central fire station open because it sits with town hall but everyone knows that its a good 20 minutes or longer to go from South Tewksbury to North Tewksbury especially with the bridge on Brown St being closed for so long (OH THAT IS A WHOLE NOTHER STORY NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT). What is it going to take the Town of Tewksbury to get this right a death of someones loved ones. And how does the town continue to find money for this or that and who decides where it should go.. one year we found money and it went to the schools if i recall how about someone start digging again and I bet there is more money to be found and get that fire station open and that bridge...
Dave September 15, 2011 at 06:00 PM
For a stationary flag displayed on a building, pole or staff, it is customary to fly it from sunrise to sunset. You are only permitted to display your flag at night if it is properly illuminated. This means that you must have a light dedicated to "spotlighting" your flag. The Flag Code describes the flag as a living thing, and it should be treated as such.
Dave September 15, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Amy get used to it, I have been here 20yrs and I can attest that there has always been lack of or virtually no town services down this end of Tewksbury, traditionally it's been the north typically the area of RT 133. Your right the town could care less about what happens down the south part of town...
ahecht December 13, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Sprint already has a cell tower hidden in the station's flagpole.

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