Charlemont, Mass., Votes to Approve Century-Old Fire Department

Jun 4, 2018

The western Massachusetts town of Charlemont has voted to establish a fire department, even though it's had one for more than 100 years.

The Select Board of Charlemont was considering giving its fire chief more power, so he wouldn't need to get approval for decisions like whether to repair a fire truck.

When a board member went through town documents, she found mention of the fire department in the 1900s but no record indicating Charlemont had ever voted to actually have a department.

Sarah Reynolds is the select board chair.

"You get into hand-written -- that you have to read with a magnifying glass -- records," she said. "And if there's no record of votes in there, you can't verify that that's exactly what it was. And in order to correctly do it by today's standards, the vote needed to happen."

Reynolds said the vote now has to be approved by the Massachusetts attorney general's office. She expects the fire chief should have more defined powers this summer.