A consulting firm based in Wyoming has concluded that the Williston Fire Department doesn’t have enough staff to meet the town’s demand for service.
Williston Fire Chief Aaron Collette, who hired AP Triton to assess the department, said the department’s call staff has declined from about 30 people in 2016 to just eight today. In its report to the Selectboard, AP Triton recommends hiring nine paid firefighters immediately and a total of 37 within five years.
The new hires would would cost Williston, which has a budget of less than $11.7 million, more than $2.5 million. However, Collette said the consequences of the understaffing could be felt in town last Friday night.
“A motor vehicle crash comes in; the on-duty crew goes to the motor vehicle crash — four minutes later, a building fire alarm comes in,” Collette said. “No one was able to answer that call. The incident commander requested from the dispatch center that the Essex Junction Fire Department respond to the incident. This is an everyday occurrence for us.”
The Selectboard will consider the consultants’ report during what’s expected to be a lengthy effort to develop solutions.