By Curt Peterson
Killington is hoping to hire a paid fire chief for the first time in the organization’s history. The salaried position was advertised in the Mountain Times on June 15 and 22.
Gary Roth, who has been a volunteer fire chief for 10 years, said he thinks the town’s owning and managing the fire department is a “good thing.”
“It’s a tough, time-consuming operation,” Roth said. “And a lot of it is administrative. The town will be able to pick up a lot of that responsibility, which will make our job of protecting the town much easier.”
Roth, 53, said he works two full time jobs. He is in the healthcare field at present. He also has a love for skydiving — his team won the 2016 U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships in Arizona, besting 500 competitors.
Roth said he plans to apply for the new position himself. “I would love the job,” he said enthusiastically. “I love working with these folks [the volunteer firefighters] and hope I can continue to do so.”
Roth said he’s passionate about the community. “The people here are important to me,” he said.
Killington residents approved the new municipally-owned fire department this past March 2022 after the new Public Safety Building was opened on Killington Road in the fall of 2020.
In 2014 the previously independent Killington Fire and Rescue organization members had realized their stand-alone fire house was inadequate — it didn’t meet state requirements and couldn’t be expanded practically. The town decided to build a new facility to house a town meeting room, the fire and rescue operations and equipment, the Killington Police Department, and accommodations as a logistical center during any town emergency situation.
The new fire chief will have plenty to say about the evolution of the department going forward, but it is likely to operate much as it has since its founding in 1955.
Services had been provided under a contract with the town, which handled some financial and administrative processes.
Currently, Killington Fire has six vehicles. The dept currently includes Gary Roth, the current volunteer chief, deputy chiefs Jim Fiore and Tom Rock, captains Terry McDonnell and Bob Schlachter, and lieutenant Josh Stevens.
Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth will be the new chief’s immediate superior. Letters of interest should be directed to Hagenbarth on or prior to July 8 for consideration.
The Select Board will appoint a search committee charged with recommending a chief for the newly-formed municipal fire department on July 19, according to board member Jim Haff. The search committee will discuss the salary at that time.
Listed requirements for the paid fire chief position include: high school or equivalent education, volunteer or paid experience as a firefighter, successful background check and drug screen, Emergency Medical Technician training, a record showing good work ethic and a physical test. Duties listed in the job description consist of directing and facilitating the training of volunteers, monitoring equipment for safety and maintenance, setting policies and procedures, and performing fire safety inspections as required by the state and town.