March 29, 2020
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Shapleigh firefighters call for new chief at town meeting

CBS 13 | WGME
CBS 13 | WGME
Shapleigh firefighters on Tuesday night called on the Select Board to fire the town's fire chief, Kevin Romano. But the board opted to keep him on for at least the next 45 days.

Firefighting is a dangerous job, and some firefighters in the town of Shapleigh say their chief is making the job even more dangerous than it has to be.

Several of them blasted their boss and demanded a new chief at a town meeting Tuesday night.

Some firefighters in Shapleigh have quit. Others have been demoted. As the Select Board voted Tuesday night to keep its current chief for the next 45 days, the department is looking for answers about how they move forward.

“The culture here is: safety is not a concern,” former firefighter Michael Sabine said.

Sabine quit his post with the Shapleigh Fire Department in December in protest of Chief Kevin Romano, who started a 60-day contract earlier this year.

Romano wasn’t at Tuesday night’s meeting, where former and suspended firefighters alleged a series of problems.

“This really bothers me,” firefighter Chuck Starbird said. “There are a huge amount of safety issues going on.”

“Many people are coming on that are 30 minutes away and are holding positions that can’t make it to the calls,” suspended firefighter Carolyn Rand said.

“We were sending people into a building, two in, nobody out. You just can’t do that,” Sabine said.

Chairwoman Jennifer Roux said the Select Board will start investigating right away.

“It gives us a chance to look into all the allegations and to really get both sides of the story,” Roux said. “I hope sincerely that the town of Shapleigh takes this investigation seriously.”

 


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