Chuckatuck volunteers change plan

Published 10:41 pm Friday, April 7, 2017

A plan to staff a Chuckatuck fire engine with paid staff from Suffolk Fire and Rescue did not work out, and instead a new plan will begin May 1.

The Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department requested earlier this year that the city department begin staffing Engine 9 around the clock beginning April 1.

However, the volunteers rescinded that request in a letter dated March 29 and instead requested to continue in their present role until April 30.

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At that time, Engine 9 staffing by paid crews would be provided from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. The volunteers would continue to staff the engine at night and on weekends and holidays.

“We have approved their request to operate in this revised manner,” Suffolk Fire and Rescue Chief Cedric Scott said this week. “That request came from them, and we’re honoring that request.”

Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jacob Johnson said in March that the original request was due to a decline in volunteer availability coupled with increasing call volumes. The volunteers were prepared to continue providing service with an additional engine as well as a tanker and brush truck when needed.

The volunteers ran about 400 calls last year, compared to 200 a decade ago, Johnson said.

He did not want to comment for this story.

Scott said the volunteers’ latest letter did not state why the change was requested. The letter states that the volunteers will give at least seven days’ notice if it cannot meet its obligations set forth in the newest agreement.

“It’s been a great pleasure to work with the Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department, and I appreciate all the service they’ve provided to our community,” Scott said. “I’m looking forward to working with them in the role they’ve requested us to.”