Hardy Begs City Council to Swear In 19 Firefighters; Stays Clear of Mayor

By Josh Resnek

With short, terse and serious remarks Everett Firefighter’s Union President Craig Hardy informed the city council that the city needs to do more for its firefighting force to meet the needs of the present as well as the future.

“There are a lot of big buildings going up…we need more firefighters…the new ambulance service cannot simply be started up…time is needed to do it right,” Hardy told the council.

Hardy did not speak directly to the mayor, rather, he spoke to the council when he should have been speaking to the mayor.

After all, it is the mayor and pretty much the mayor alone, who governs what the Fire Department does – who it hires, who it fires, who it ignores, who it promotes – and this includes Hardy, who was recently promoted by the mayor to lieutenant.

Hardy insisted that the city needs to swear in 19 firefighters “the way police officers are given the honor.”

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A firefighter’s firefighter retires

Deputy Chief Michael Ragucci strikes last alarm

Deputy Chief Michael Ragucci retires


Two weeks ago, former Mayor David Ragucci retired after a near lifetime of public service here.

His brother Michael, a man’s man deputy chief with the Everett Fire Department, is following in his brother’s footsteps.
He retired on the same day as his brother after 32 years.

If Deputy Ragucci told me to take a line through hell, I would have done it and returned safely.”

– Everett firefighter

In typical Mike Ragucci self-deprecating fashion, he said that his brother deserved the big spread on his retirement.

“He was a trailblazer. I was just a loyal firefighter who loved what I did from the day I joined the department in 1988. I loved serving the city. I was proud of all the men I served with. I learned about commitment, pride, and tradition,” he said.

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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.

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Fire safety above all

Everett Fire Department Ladder 2 responds to a call. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

The mayor’s unfulfilled promise to 20 applicants for positions on the Everett Fire Department is one thing.

His excuse that metrics don’t mean anything anymore when it comes to how many men and women should be serving in the fire department is indicative of his true thinking.

That is to say, the mayor is suggesting that because there are fewer fires, there should be fewer firefighters.

In a world where everything is equal, such a creative idea would be satisfying.

Everything in this world is not equal.

Fewer fires don’t translate into a department with fewer firefighters.

The present complement of 83 firefighters doesn’t work in Everett.

During the past five years, perhaps 2500 new units have either been built or added to the Everett housing marketplace here. Hundreds more are coming online.

During the past five years, it is likely as many as 5,000 more people are now living here.

The school population rising by the thousands during that time is a reflection of this new reality.

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