Almost eight years to the day after a three-alarm fire destroyed a landmark building on Brunswick’s Maine Street, firefighters for the town say the department is dangerously understaffed and has been for years.
As negotiations about the 2019-2020 town budget begin in earnest, Fire Chief Ken Brillant has proposed increasing his staff by one firefighter per shift — a total of four crew members, which would ensure eight firefighters on duty at all times for the town of approximately 20,000 people — as well as an enforcement inspector to oversee, among other responsibilities, multi-unit inspections.
“We are severely understaffed now and have been for quite some time,” Brillant told the Town Council at an April 1, 2019, public hearing on a proposed new Central Fire Station. “There is a need now.”
But Brillant acknowledged Thursday that his proposed increase of four firefighters is not enough.
“It should be 10 to 12 people per shift, but we’re also aware of where the budget is,” he said.