Litchfield News

Morris Fire Company is the new occupant of firehouse (07-01-18)

The firehouse in Morris became the home of the new Morris Fire Company on Sunday. Below, First Selectman Thomas Weik, right, with Fire Chief Robert Ebner, center, and fire company President Michael Lauretano at Town Hall on Friday. BZ photos
The new Morris Fire Company opened for business at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
Formed to replace the Morris Volunteer Fire Department, which ended its 75-year history at midnight on Saturday, the Morris Fire Company has a roster of 28 volunteers ready to serve the town.
Volunteers were in the firehouse at 12:01 and spent the night and day inspecting fire trucks and equipment. Should the emergency siren sound, the fire company is prepared to respond, according to Fire Chief Robert Ebner.
The new fire company was introduced to the Board of Selectmen on Friday. Presenting the new organization’s business plan, roster, bylaws, and vision for its future were Ebner and fire company president Michael Lauretano Jr.
Ebner and Lauretano presented an impressive 15-page plan outlining how the fire company will operate and grow.
“We understand that if we are given this opportunity, it comes with great responsibility and that is something we take very seriously,” the plan reads. “Our roster is full of people that have dedicated their lives to firefighting and new members ready to dedicate their lives to firefighting. All we need is the opportunity to earn your trust and respect.”
First Selectman Thomas Weik and Selectmen Erica Dorsett-Mathews and Vincent Aiello praised the volunteers for stepping forward. An agreement with the Morris Fire Company to provide fire protection and prevention, disaster assistance, emergency land and water rescue, fire safety education, and hazardous material spill containment services was approved by Weik and Dorsett-Mathews. Aiello, a member of the MVFD, abstained from the vote to approve the agreement.
The new fire company came to be after it was clear the town and the Morris Volunteer Fire Department were not going to resolve long-standing differences. The MVFD’s decision on June 18 to cease operation put the Morris Fire Co. plan into motion sooner than expected.
Members of the new fire company, frustrated by the impasse between the town and the MVFD, began meeting months ago to discuss the possibility of forming a new fire company. The discussion included two former MVFD chiefs, Lewis Clark and Robert Worden, as well as Ebner and several volunteer firefighters who live in town and serve surrounding towns.
The new fire company boasts more than 200 years of firefighting experience. Many of the new volunteers are in training to become firefighters, including Lauretano. The fire company’s plan details short-term goals of providing immediate coverage of the town and long-term goals that include growing as an organization, educating the community, financial transparency and continuous internal analysis and improvement.
One long-term goal is to restore ambulance coverage. Coverage has been provided by Litchfield Volunteer Ambulance for more than a year.
The roster of 28 is expected to grow, as applications are being received from more volunteers, according to Ebner. An invitation for membership is being extended to the members of the MVFD.
The Morris Fire Company roster:
Interior firefighters: Robert Ebner, Brian White, Ryan Taylor, Sam Wolff, Greg Peck and Tffany Carr.
Exterior firefighters: Lewis Clark, George Humphrey, Dwayne Pond, Glen Threlfall, Paul Adams, Stephen Maughmer, Michael Lauretano, Corey Mathews, Kyle Rosenbeck, Ben Paletsky, Adam Wheeler, Kyle Hovey, Dylan Hovey, Zachary Hovey, Jason Mangini and Daniel Barker.
Emergency medical technicians: Christine Lauretano and Audrey Morton.
Charter members: Robert Worden, Edward Dorsett, Richard Skilton and Kip Brammer.
Volunteer Corey Mathews tests out the cab of a fire truck on Sunday as volunteer George Humphrey looks on.
Volunteer Ben Paletsky cleans up the firehouse basement.
Truck inspector Clark Bennett takes a look at a truck.
Firefighter turnout gear is ready to go.
Fire Chief Robert Ebner, right, and volunteer George Humphrey inspect a truck.