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New Fire Department Member Appointed Though Training May be Delayed

Burlington resident Raymon Blenkhorn was approved by the Board of Selectmen to begin firefighter training at the earliest possible date.

The Burlington Board of Selectmen approved the appointment of a new member to the Intermittent Firefighter List during the meeting Monday night, though the firefighter may not be able to start training until the fall due to changes in the Massachusetts Fire Academy.

Members of the board said they were happy to appoint Raymond R. Blenkhorn to the intermittent list at the recommendation of and Assistant Fire Chief Michael Patterson.

"We are happy to have you and welcome," said Chair Walter Zenkin.

Blenkhorn is a resident of Burlington currently employed at Arcadia Landscaping Inc., a family-owned business. He is a certified Massachusetts Emergency Medical Technician, a certification he first received in 2007.

"Mr. Blenkhorn's background check revealed that he is a hard working, dedicated individual" Yetman wrote in the recommendation to the board. "Many of the individuals interviewed stated he always provides extra effort. Mr. Blenkhorn presents himself as a highly motivated individual [who] works well with others."

Delays in Training:

Yetman said that though Blenkhorn was appointed this week, he may not be able to begin training until October due to backlog at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.

"The only problem is that the academy has a long waiting list, up to 288 names," Yetman told the board. "There is a possibility that someone may drop out and towns can change their minds, so we may be able to get him into the July class." 

Yetman said the department would also look into "other avenues" for training that may allow Blenkhorn to begin service earlier than late this year.

Town Administrator Robert Mercier said the earlier the training could be completed, the better it would be for everyone. He said the fire department currently has vacancies and that covering them are costing the town money in overtime pay.

"It’s a slower process than we’d all like, but one we will deal with," he said. "Filling these positions is important to us."

Anticipating the vacancies, . At the time the board appointed Kyle Brown, currently serving in the U.S. Military, along with Eric Fitzgerald and Sean Killilea. Fitzgerald and Killilea, Yetman told the board Monday night, are currently in the academy and both should complete training by March.

"Both of them are thought highly of in the academy and will be good for the town," Yetman said. "As will Raymond."

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