EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Fire Department has at least temporarily suspended its contract to receive paramedic ambulance service from the Island Falls Fire Department after that department’s assistant fire chief was charged last week with theft, officials said Thursday.
The arrest of Paul Breton II, 26, of Oakfield is partially why the Board of Selectman decided Monday to wait 30 to 60 days before deciding whether to renew the contract, board Chairman Mark Scally said.
East Millinocket Fire Chief Les Brown told selectmen during their meeting on Monday that he recommended the delay because Island Falls had “personnel issues,” town administrative assistant Shirley Tapley said.
“It hinges on whether Island Falls has the personnel to offer the paramedic service to the town,” Tapley said Thursday.
Breton was arrested and charged Friday with Class B theft in connection with what state police describe as the misappropriation of about $10,000 in Island Falls funds, possibly since 2007.
Breton also is a paramedic with the Island Falls Ambulance Department and as such was among two paramedics who served East Millinocket’s ambulance service through the contract. As part of the contract, Island Falls personnel would man ambulance shifts at the town public safety building, usually in their Island Falls uni-forms.
Breton is on administrative leave with Island Falls pending the outcome of the investigation, town officials said Thursday.
Due to his arrest, Breton no longer will serve in East Millinocket, Scally said.
Brown is on vacation and did not return a page seeking comment on Thursday. Other East Millinocket firefighters declined to comment or referred comment to Brown.
Maine State Police Lt. Darrell Ouellette said Wednesday that police were made aware of Breton’s alleged activities by the Island Falls Board of Selectmen almost a month ago.
“[Breton] presented receipts for purchases he had made from various businesses for reimbursement from the town, and they were not related to the department,” Ouellette said Wednesday. “They had nothing to do with the department.”
Ouellette said investigators believe that some of the invoices in question may date to 2007. He added that Breton has been cooperating with investigators and has said he misappropriated funds. Ouellette could not be reached for comment on Thursday.