After nearly the entire Blandford Volunteer Fire Department resigned earlier this week, the town's select board picked a temporary chief after a heated town meeting on Friday night.
Brian Care, the new temporary fire chief in Blandford, walked up to the selectmen amid thunderous applause to accept the job. The appointment was made after more than an hour of arguing, finger-pointing and flared tempers at town hall.
It's a job Care says he's proud to accept after a long few days.
"To have this kind of support from the town is really awesome," said Care.
Dozens of worried residents turned out, concerned for their safety after the entire department resigned, and voiced anger at the select board.
"I haven't been able to sleep for the last couple of days since I heard there wasn't going to be a department in town," said Steve Hart, a former longtime volunteer firefighter in town.
The fire chief handed in his resignation Tuesday night, after sparring with the select board over hirings and firings.
Nearly the entire department walked out with him.
Everyone except firefighter Adam Dolby, a member of the select board.
"Quite frankly, the town probably had a bit of a need to vent some frustration, which is fine, but in the end I think we arrived right where we wanted to be."
The town has had to rely on mutual aid from surrounding towns since Tuesday.
The select board offered to disregard the fire department's resignation and appoint Care temporarily.
"We're not only glad to be back on the job and glad they support us, but we love the town, we love the people and this is something we never, ever wanted to do," Care said.
Care is only the temporary chief. To be appointed, the selectmen will have to review his resume and accept resumes from anyone else interested.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.