Legislators and Town Celebrate Grant Award for Winchendon Fire Department and DPW

In bold green text, "GRANTS" over a background of dollar bills

BOSTON- State Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer) and State Representative Jonathan D. Zlotnik (D-Gardner) have joined with Winchendon Fire Chief Thomas Smith and Winchendon DPW Director Brian Croteau in announcing two grant awards via the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection administers the DERA program. Winchendon Fire Department was awarded $175,904 towards the purchase of a new Fire Pumper Apparatus, replacing a 1996 E-One Pumper. The Winchendon DPW was awarded $43,934 towards the purchase of a new Front end loader, replacing a 1997 Volvo loader. Both the fire engine and the front end loader are from a time period where the diesel emissions were considered less of a problem.

In June of 2021, Gobi’s office toured the Fire Department and viewed the apparatus currently being used, which is a 1996 model fire engine. The fire apparatus does not include important safety features and lacks coverage for any onboard equipment. “I congratulate the town on these awards. Under the leadership of Chief Smith and Director Croteau these grants are well deserved,” Gobi commented, noting the efforts of the two departments. “Chief Smith and his team have been doing their best to keep an outdated fire truck in service.” The current apparatus is not well suited for current day emergencies and serves as an environmental hazard to Department personnel and the public. “Director Croteau has been struggling to even find parts for the 1997 Volvo loader” commented Senator Gobi. “The fire department grant, one of the larger awards, will enable Winchendon to have a cleaner, safer fleet of fire apparatus while the front end loader will do the same for the DPW. I applaud MassDEP for making this commitment to Winchendon and the people of the North Central Region.”

State Representative Jon Zlotnik said, “Winchendon Fire Department and Winchendon DPW have managed to provide quality services, despite the challenges of antiquated equipment.” “Chief Smith has been innovative in his efforts to maintain the vehicle and keep it in service. With these funds, a more appropriate truck can be brought online to respond to the needs of the Community.”

Chief Thomas Smith offered the following remarks, “Director Croteau and I look forward to a new era for the Departments, with this equipment. Our reliance on older vehicles put the department at a deficit, posing a risk to our team and the public. With the support of Winchendon Town Manager Justin Sultzbach, this grant will serve to improve both department’s performances and protect the Town’s firefighters and DPW workers. Additionally, it will help us to reduce our environmental impact which is a goal of everyone involved.”