June 25, 2018
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Island Falls fire chief agrees to return to work

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

ISLAND FALLS, Maine — A more than monthlong dustup in Island Falls that left the town without its fire chief and ambulance director, prompted other firefighters to resign in solidarity with their chief and forced the town to bow out of its ambulance contracts with other towns has improved somewhat, as the department head involved has agreed to come back to work.

Josh McNally, the town’s fire chief and ambulance director, agreed to come back to the job on Thursday, Town Clerk Cheryl McNally said late Friday.

McNally, who is not related to the chief, said that the decision came after the chief submitted a proposal to the Board of Selectmen.

“The selectmen accepted the proposal,” said Cheryl McNally, who declined to give details.

Residents of the town maintained that Josh McNally resigned in light of harassment he received after Paul Breton II, then the deputy chief of the Island Falls Fire Department and a paramedic in the town’s ambulance department, resigned after being charged with felony theft.

Josh McNally and Breton were the only paramedics on the ambulance department. Their resignations left the ambulance service staffed only by emergency medical technicians, who could not provide the level of service offered when paramedics were on board.

After McNally made his decision, a number of firefighters and ambulance personnel resigned from their positions in solidarity.

The decline of the level of care in the ambulance department forced all of the towns that contracted with Island Falls for ambulance service to find high-level temporary coverage through other ambulance departments.

Cheryl McNally said she is not yet sure whether everyone who resigned after the chief will come back to work or of other towns who once contracted with the town for ambulance service will come back. She said selectmen will consider the situation further next week.

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