There was not an empty seat in the house at Middletown Town Hall on Jan. 6 as advocates for the fire department showed up to the Town Council meeting to lobby for additional firefighters.
The public hearing was filled with residents, retired firefighters and representatives of the local fire union who rose to express fear and anger toward what they see as an unwillingness on the part of town officials to address a critical health and safety problem.
The town and the Middletown Firefighters Local 1933 are currently in arbitration after the sides failed to come to an agreement negotiating the latest labor contract, which expired in June 2019. Union President John Jordan said that the organization is seeking an equitable agreement with the town, but not with current staffing levels.
“We need more firefighters to do our job properly,” he said.