Whether local call or mutual aid, area auxiliary members support firefighters

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 8:45am

For more than 40 years, Boothbay Fire Department’s auxiliary provided support during active fires as well as area events. Known as the Miss Fires, in 2019 the group expanded to include support of the peninsula’s four fire departments and renamed itself Boothbay Region Fire Auxiliary to attract participation from area men, according to its president, Kareen Nelson.

The area’s volunteer fire departments respond to emergencies over the peninsula’s 125 square miles to assist any of the 3,000 year round residents and thousands more visitors. And the Auxiliary is looking for new members to help it support firefighters whether at a scene or for meetings, receptions, and other events.

Nelson, a member since 2012, explained that over the years support has ranged from serving meals at department training to providing Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for local organizations. But the primary function of the auxiliary, she explained, “is to serve refreshments for firefighters at the scene of a fire.”

The organization has grown in the past two months, she said. “There’s a new awareness in fires and the need for support when firemen are out there for a long time.”

Nelson explained with a large fire, firefighters can be at a location for hours. With the peninsula’s small, volunteer departments, “You can’t send the first group of firemen home and bring in a second group,” so providing food and drink at a scene is the auxiliary’s primary role.

Nelson gets alerted by Boothbay Fire Chief Richard Spofford and she calls her lead contacts for each town. Nelson is the lead for Boothbay, Jen Mitchell for Boothbay Harbor and Kim Peaslee for Edgecomb. Once the call comes, the auxiliary members go to the Boothbay fire station and pick up supplies before heading to the fire.

The auxiliary hopes to find a volunteer lead for Southport.

Spofford said Boothbay Region Fire Auxiliary is “a big asset to the whole region. It’s needed when we have a big (fire) event. They bring us coffee and sandwiches.”

While some of the group’s members are needed at a scene, others are needed at the station to help prepare food and coffee to take to the firefighters.

“It’s not only fires,” Nelson added. “We also are there for hurricanes or any big emergency. If people have to be at the fire station or warming center, we help to feed people.”

Nelson praised local businesses for their help. Hannaford has provided paper goods and Dunkin Donuts has provided coffee. Jansen’s, Grover’s and Hawke Motors also help.

The auxiliary meets at the Boothbay fire station the third Thursday of each month. For more information, contact Nelson at 350-7065. Donations to Boothbay Region Fire Auxiliary can be given to Treasurer Betty Jeanne Maddocks at Jansen’s or Vice President Stephanie Hawke at Hawke Motors.