Firefighter numbers declining in Athol

Many firefighters rely on other towns for help

ATHOL, Mass. (WWLP) Firefighters serve their communities, save lives and enjoy their comradery, but in the town of Athol, their numbers are dwindling.

Athol Fire Chief Thomas Lozier says many would-be on-call firefighters get turned off by the $200 civil service application fee and testing requirements. Lozier is asking state lawmakers to exempt call firefighters from these provisions of civil service. Ideally, the Athol fire chief says he’d like 8 to 10 call firefighters, but currently he only has 4 per shift.

“It’s difficult to recruit volunteers and firefighters because people work out of town and a lot of commitments so we’re trying to make it as easy as we can to secure them,” said Lozier.

Lozier says the Athol fire team has to rely on mutual aid agreements with neighboring towns to provide firefighters when they’re in need.