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Rockland firefighters kept waiting two hours at ferry terminal

By Stephen Betts | Sep 04, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Rockland fire crews responded Thursday night to the Maine State Ferry Terminal.

Rockland — Rockland fire crews responded quickly to a sprinkler turning on Thursday night at the Maine State Ferry Terminal.

But the response from the Ferry Service left a crew waiting for two hours for someone from the state to respond.

The sprinkler activated an alarm that sent crews to the Main Street building after 9:30 p.m. Sept. 3.

The department determined that a compressor had malfunctioned and water was leaking from one sprinkler onto a tile floor.

The department and Knox County Communications tried contacting someone from the ferry service but to no avail.  The firefighters remained there for two hours before someone finally arrived.

Fire Chief Christopher Whytock said the department did not want to leave with the sprinkler still leaking. The department also would not turn off the sprinkler and then leave for safety reasons.

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Comments (8)
Posted by: Debra Damon | Sep 07, 2020 08:36

Chris Whytock, I think you and your crew do an awesome job, responding to calls, accidents, fires and doing what regulations tell you that you can do. It's very sad when there are several people that have to make negative comments on here. Again Chris "Great Job by Rockland Fire Department and EMT responders!" Your team was always there when I needed you to transport my Granddaughter I was raising, who multiple health issues. Thank you Rockland Fire Department, Ambulance Team and EMT Team.


Posted by: Chris Whytock | Sep 06, 2020 12:25

Steve, a “lone gunman” is all well and good until there is a problem. There are nationally recognized NFPA guidelines that are considered “best practices” for responses to any type of incident, and we adjust them to fit our staffing. There are also numerous incidents where the ring apparatus or staff is sent to calls only to find themselves “up a creek”.  While we treat every call as the real thing until proven otherwise, we certainly do not waste resources. I can’t argue that there is a cost associated with the business we are in and is recouped whenever possible. Last year we brought in over $700,000.00 in revenue, almost a third of our entire budget.

Hope that helps.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Sep 06, 2020 09:09

Chris thanks for your cordial reply.  Yes, I understand in your position the need to have all the fire power necessary to combat whatever you may find when you arrive on site.  Since the general public only knows what they hear from others, the sense we get is that the Dept is constantly responding to these "pain in the as" calls  where somebody tripped an alarm by mistake and several trucks are scrambled (at a cost to the FD) for nothing.  If this is actually true, is there a way to send a lone gunman to the scene (when it's intown) to survey the situation before the calvary is sent ?  Also should the business or individual be responsible to pay dept costs if it's a fake alarm ?

Posted by: Chris Whytock | Sep 05, 2020 14:56

Gerald,  there is a Knox Box. The issue wasn’t access, it was the condition inside the building. I wasn’t comfortable with leaving and not have an RP take responsibility for the terminal.

Steve, you always give such a great position and I am sure you will be glad to hear that the entire fleet was not there. The rest of “the fleet” was busy handling another emergency in the City. We also don’t respond to “ crank calls”. We respond to alarm investigations and we respond with personnel who can deal with the situation while being safe and efficient. Imagine the FD showing up to your house with a pick up truck and not be able to mitigate the problem, that would go over well. Good to hear from you as always.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Sep 05, 2020 12:15

Novel idea Steve. He like days gone bye when Ray Wooster was chief.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Sep 05, 2020 09:19

Dealing with the State is a one way street.  Whatever they want they get or take,  whatever you want from them you wait and wait.  So I say the more common sense move would be to make them wait until you are ready and if that never occurs then too bad for them.  I would say to Chris, don't send the entire fleet every time you get a crank call send one guy in a pickup then have him call if you need all the troops.  How long does it take from the FD to the Ferry Terminal ?

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Sep 04, 2020 23:43

Isn't there a Knox Box at the Ferry Terminal that provides keys to Rockland Fire Department to enter the building? And if there isn't one, why?

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Sep 04, 2020 23:43

Isn't there a Knox Box at the Ferry Terminal that provides keys to Rockland Fire Department to enter the building? And if there isn't one, why?

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