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Fire Department Short Staffed Due to Injuries

There is a plea for help from Claremont Fire Chief Rick Bergeron in allotting his department an additional $50,000 to cover overtime expenses through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Bergeron told the city council during Wednesday night’s meeting that five of his full-time firefighters are out on paid long-term sick leave due to injuries sustained off duty, forcing the department to rely heavily on its overtime budget to pay its healthy employees to cover shifts.

But the $70,000 dollars the department was allocated in the 2016 budget is all but gone, leaving Bergeron wondering how he’ll keep things covered until the end of the fiscal year in June. The Claremont Fire Department currently has a staff of 20 full-time firefighters, two administrators and 12 volunteers. Five full-time firefighters typically cover each of the department’s four shifts.

Bergeron is slated to report back to the council next month with a formal recommendation.

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