Regionalization off the table in search for new Allenstown fire chiefBy Melissa Proulx
Union Leader Correspondent
September 13. 2017 12:14AM
ALLENSTOWN — Regionalization is off the table as an option when it comes to finding a new fire chief for the town.
Former Fire Chief Dana Pendergast, who filled the health officer and building inspector roles as well, resigned from his roles in September.
One of the ideas Town Administrator Shaun Mulholland was looking into was having a regional fire chief for the town. Shared town positions can be seen in other parts of the state as well. For example, Laconia and Belmont have separate fire departments, but share a chief and deputy chief.
But discussions with surrounding communities never gained traction.
“None of them have any interest in a shared fire chief…,” Mulholland said.
Epsom officials, however, said they were interested in sharing their building inspector with the town. Mulholland will further flesh out those numbers and bring the proposal back to selectmen at a later meeting. Mulholland said Allenstown will continue to use Shawn Murray to fill the role of fire chief for now.
Murray is a retired fire chief from Hudson and also works as a senior public safety consultant for Municipal Resources Inc. (MRI) out of Meredith.
He has held other interim fire chief positions, including in Hopkinton last year.
Pendergast had been chosen for the full-time job in 2013 and headed a department that consists of a full-time firefighter/EMT and about 30 part-time and on-call firefighters and EMTs.
Pendergast was reappointed as fire chief and health officer in May. The Board of Selectmen unanimously reappointed him for the roles, which would have expired in June 2018 and June 2020, respectively, according to the meeting minutes.
Both the town’s fire and police departments underwent a risk assessment by MRI last year.
The report suggested addressing challenges such as staffing and retention as well as installing a diesel exhaust system and replacing some of the department’s vehicles.
“Despite the challenges facing the department, it is apparent that the organization offers a valuable service to the community,” according to the report. “Overall, the department is viable, and when personnel are available, they produce a well-trained and effective response.”