EFD rescue person from Lewis St. fire, manpower shortage still a problem for city

February 21: A two-alarm fire at 40 Lewis Street. EFD rescued one person from the second floor. (Photo by Patrick Johnston)


A Monday night fire on Lewis Street led to the over the ladder rescue of a person trapped inside the burning home.

That fire came at a prophetic moment as the firefighter’s union, the mayor, and others in the administration are having talks about what to do about the dwindling number of Everett firefighters.

According to those familiar with the ongoing talks, the mayor is not now prepared to hire any firefighters despite the department being down 20 firefighters mainly due to retirements.

“The department’s morale is as low as I can recall in a lifetime,” said retired Deputy Chief Michael Ragucci.

“The men and women of the EFD deserve better. The mayor knows this. He has failed to act. He says there aren’t enough fires anymore to justify the hires. The people of the city rely on us. We are all that exist between professionally manned and managed public safety efforts and chaos. The mayor needs to choose, and soon,” Ragucci added.

According to sources, there is growing discord between Fire Chief Anthony Carli and his benefactor, the mayor. There is discord as well between the chief and many of the firefighters.

Councilor Mike McLaughlin expressed frustration with Carli earlier this week.

McLaughlin asked for Carli to come before the council Monday night.

Carli refused to appear. McLaughlin went to the Central Fire Station and apparently con- fronted Carli and asked him why he was not going to show up at the council meeting as he was asked to do.

Carli apparently said he had other things to do.

In addition, during ongoing firefighter union talks with the mayor and others, it has come to light that the mayor is refusing to hire 8 firefighters with the use of a federal grant.

The mayor is said to believe the city doesn’t need more firefighters because there are fewer fires.

However, firefighter roles have dramatically changed during the past decade.

Firefighters don’t just fight fires; fire union officials point out.

“Today’s firefighters are public safety professionals and first responders in every way,” said Ragucci.

“Everett firefighters are emergency experts in a dozen ways – from saving addicts who are over- dosing, to giving resuscitation to those suffering from heart attacks, to giving medical aid and comfort to those in car accidents, fires, and disasters of every kind, and including aiding in vaccination efforts for COVID-19. Claiming the city doesn’t need a full complement of firefighters doesn’t cut it. The mayor doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The chief needs to be more independent,” added Ragucci.

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