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Costly improvements to Paris Fire Department are needed, chief tells council

Fire Chief Larry Wright
Fire Chief Larry Wright

Fire Chief Larry Wright, who has now been at the helm for 13 months, presented to the Paris City Council on Monday his assessment of the needs of the Paris Fire Department.

He thanked the council for buying a new fire engine last summer, but said the city has basically gone a number of years before then without new trucks “and they’re all wearing out at the same time.”

He said the city at some point needs to reopen the fire station on Pine Mill Road in east Paris that was shut down several years ago. Wright said response times to much of east Paris is not fast enough, “and with the growth going on, it concerns me.”

Wright said more firefighters will be needed to do that. Wright said another big problem is the exodus of good, qualified firefighters because the pay and advancement possibilities are not on a par with other departments in the region. “We have a young, inexperienced firefighting force.”

Regarding several suspicious fires recently to vacant houses, Wright noted that his department now is in charge of code enforcement and will be able to more efficiently address deliberately-set fires. The city will acquire an arson dog in September, he said.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra