There is nothing to be won by our feuding.  Nothing at all.




I was out walking the dogs the other afternoon and saw one of my neighbors out in her driveway putting boxes in her car. She recently retired from teaching and she had had her house up for sale for a while. In conversation, she mentioned that she was passing papers on the first of April and then asked me if I knew the “controversy” about the sale.

As I said earlier, the house was on the market for a while. The house is beautiful but has a very small yard area due to the hillside and the pool. She had a lot of people looking, but no commitments until a social service organization came in, looked at it and made her an offer.

She mentioned to a neighbor that she had an offer to buy her house and who was buying it. Well, that created a “crapstorm”. Her closest neighbor, friends for 20+ years started going around the neighborhood trying to get support to stop the sale to a group home, saying it would be nothing but trouble (drugs, drunks, criminals, etc.) I was approached about it and I told them that there was nothing that could be done under the laws of the Commonwealth. It turns out that the neighbor never even asked what organization bought it and for what reason. The home was sold to an organization that assists disabled adults confined to wheelchairs and there would be a maximum of four adults living there with supervision. The neighbor and others treated her from that day on as ‘persona non grata’.

I listened to her tell the story and thought about how in the fire service there are fire departments that have similar situations. Some communities have multiple fire departments due to the way villages were founded and before the communities were incorporated. Some of them work very well together and have gotten to the point where they became one department while others hate and despise each other.  Some city and town fire departments have grudges against each other that go back years; in some cases the parties involved in the original dust up and brouhaha are long dead and buried, but the grudges go on as if they happened yesterday.

These fire departments can have a major incident, yet will ignore the community next door for mutual aid and call in other cities and town who have to drive through the community they do not get along with to get to the incident. Others will refuse to send mutual aid to the rival community, making stupid statements like “when the fire gets to the town/city/county line we’ll put it out,” Really?

These are the stupid games that are played why the fire service gets the short end of the stick when it comes to funding. Law enforcement gets the funding because they show unity in their mission, whether it is community policing, counter terrorism training, etc. We want to play the “we’re better than you because we get paid/do it for free” and the “keep up with the Jones’s” mentality… “We need a new truck because XYZ FD got one”…. etc.

This stupid kindergarten crap has to stop and it has to start with us. Nobody is going to do it for us. It is time to make amends for the betterment of the fire service and for the public we are sworn to protect.


Photo courtesy of Mark Filipelli/Hit The Plug Photography.  Firefighters from three departments fight a fire at a wood treatment plant in Maryland.  See more photos from the incident here.


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RonBioPhotoPrior to his retirement, Ron Ayotte was one of four Deputy Fire Chiefs with the Marlborough Fire Department, Marlborough, Massachusetts. Ron began his career with the MFD in November of 1981, was promoted to Lieutenant in November of 1988, Promoted to Captain in August of 2000 and was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2006. Ron’s responsibilities at the MFD include incident command, communications, plans review, inspections and training. Ron also works per diem in the Support Services division at the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services/Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, working support for various Academy programs, including Recruit training, Call/Volunteer training, Certification and LNG-LPG firefighting training. Ron’s writings and musings can be seen at Chief Concerns.
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